In this episode of the Fintech Focus podcast, we look at Software as a Service (Saas) from the lens of institutional investors.
Imagineer (not the Disney-owned tech workshop for engineers) is a relationship management software company, with products designed to help fund managers and institutional investors operate more efficiently, helping them effectively manage their clients and market themselves. Their clients usually fall in the $3-5 billion AUM category.
We speak with the company’s CEO, Jeremie Bacon, a lifelong entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in financial services technology and how institutional investors use technology like his.
Click here to listen to our interview with Bacon. Here are a few highlights:
In 2003, you left Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) and you co-found Backstop, a SaaS company for financial services. What did you see in the early 2000s that made you think, financial services could really use better software?
It was a no-brainer that there was an opportunity to build some software. There were a couple of trends were apparent at the time. One was you had this world of hedge funds and hedge fund managers that was really coming into its own. The number of hedge fund managers was exploding and the number of services and service providers was also exploding.
But the majority of the money being invested and being spent was going toward what I would call front-office applications. But when you went and sat down with institutional investors, like a pension fund, or their customers, there was zero web-based software that had been put in place for these folks to manage their relationships with their clients and/or managers.
Do hedge fund managers or other asset entities come to you guys and ask for help when it comes to marketing?
The short answer is yes, and increasingly so. In fact, one of the things that differentiate us is because we’re so focused on the business of relationship management and marketing and servicing clients, we’re spending more and more of our time working with our clients and helping them with their messaging and to think about their brand and marketing strategy.
Historically, fund managers have always feared this notion of fund marketing, because marketing sort of has a sales-y connotation to it. You can still market and brand and tell your story. And so a big part of what we’re trying to do with our clients is to let them know that it’s okay to tell their story. In fact, the managers who have become the biggest of the big, in terms of branding, have become the biggest of the big because they’ve established a brand, a position, and a way to corner the market, and they’re aggressive in doing it.
How do you feel about the asset management business right now?
I think it’s a beautiful business. It continues to be a fantastic business model for a number of reasons. First and foremost, from a purely capitalistic perspective, asset management pays and it’s incredibly lucrative. I also love it because assets continue to grow. People get richer every single day and the number of people who are creating dynastic wealth only continues to go up. That’s a trend that’s not going to change.
In my 20 years in fintech and financial services, I’ve seen a number of family offices balloon from about 1,000 to thousands more, and that number increases by hundreds every single year. Every time you get a new billionaire, that’s a billion dollars that needs to get managed by somebody and it’s going to be managed by asset managers.
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