This week’s tech news, filtered for financial services execs

October 25

Hello and welcome to Insights Distilled, a weekly email briefing that curates tactical technology news for financial services execs. Every Tuesday morning, we send you the top five stories you need to know – and explain why they matter. Our tech news roundup helps you stay on top of the innovations driving business agility in your industry. To get next week’s edition in your inbox, sign up here.


This week’s edition underscores the role that company culture plays in building innovative products.  

Two of our featured stories touch on talent – with tips from a Visa exec on hiring underrepresented engineers and advice from Goldman Sachs’ CIO on keeping developers excited about their work – while another spotlights a tech-enabled workaround for easier partnerships between fintechs and incumbent banks. 

Diverse, motivated, and collaborative teams: A recipe for inventive products.  

Let’s dive in.

  1. Friendly fundraising: JPMorgan’s new platform for luring startups
  2. Hiring help: Visa exec shares simple tips for recruiting underrepresented talent
  3. CIO insight: How Goldman Sachs motivates its engineers
  4. Move fast, break nothing: Inside Lloyds’ innovation sandbox
  5. Sustainability success: How UBS slashed its energy consumption

JPMorgan launched a fundraising platform to woo startups as it aims to become a “one-stop shop” for private markets.  

With startups increasingly staying private longer, banks can benefit from expanding their services and bonding with companies early. 

JPMorgan just launched a new platform called Capital Connect to strengthen its connections with young, venture-backed companies that could eventually swell into major enterprises. 

The platform aims to simplify the fundraising process for startups, allowing them to connect with investors and access benchmarking data, as well as sell company shares on the secondary market. It builds on technology from Global Shares, a software firm that JPMorgan bought earlier this year

“The recent acquisition of Global Shares further enhances this early-stage offering, allowing JPMorgan to offer cap table management services to companies from inception through to IPO,” a spokesperson told Insights Distilled.  

The team is run by JPMorgan’s head of digital investing banking, Michael Elanjian, who told Reuters that the bank aims to be a “one-stop shop” for private companies and will differentiate itself by pairing this new digital platform “with the expertise, data, and relationships of our investment and private bank.”


Visa HR exec shares three simple ways to help recruit underrepresented tech talent. 

Building diverse tech teams is critical to an enterprise’s long-term success. While increasing diversity in tech is a complex, systemic challenge, there are basic, effective ways to make your company more welcoming to underrepresented candidates.

There’s no magic bullet to increasing the diversity of your technology organization, but Visa’s vice president and head of HR business partners, Samuel Tam, has a few recommendations for small changes that can have an impact.  

“Something as simple as the way that you write your job descriptions can really impact your recruiting approach,” he said during a recent Rise and IGNITE interview alongside Albrey Brown, VP of strategy at hiring platform Joonko, an Insight Partners portfolio company. For example, in the past he’s used software from writing platform Textio to “help us refine the language of our JDs,” to make them more appealing to underrepresented candidates, he said. “That was incredibly helpful.”  

Tam also recommends that tech leaders pay attention to the details: Even “something as easy as having your email signature link to your employee value proposition” – which should tout a commitment to diverse teams – can affect how candidates (and current employees) feel about your firm.  

Similarly, he urges leaders to make their firm’s current diversity stats – and future aspirations – easy to find: “Be honest and transparent and open with these goals, and how you’re tracking and measuring them,” he said.  

“Even if they’re not where you want them to be,” Joonko’s Brown added. “If you’re not upfront, that’s going to raise more questions than answers. I think that underrepresented candidates understand that no one is good at this: If you’re proactive throughout the process about sharing your diversity numbers, then it at least says ‘Hey, this company is self-aware.’” 

You can watch Tam and Brown’s full conversation here.


Goldman Sachs’ CIO reveals the secret to motivating engineers: “They need to feel like they’re on the front line of the business.” 

As Goldman Sachs restructures, its chief information officer has rolled out new processes – including a technique popularized by Amazon – so that its 12,000+ developers are more engaged. 

To feel content at work, developers need to understand the business purpose behind their work, according to Goldman Sachs’ chief information officer Marco Argenti. Instead of asking tactical “how” questions before beginning a new project, Goldman engineers are now prompted to understand the impact their work will have on the firm’s bigger-picture goals.  

“Now, we want them to answer the ‘why’ questions,” Argenti said at a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday. “That is a big change.” 

Argenti, who is less than a month into his new role as sole CIO, has also instituted the “working-back” memo exercise made famous by his former employer, Amazon. Engineers now work together with bizdev employees on mock press releases for the products they’re going to build, before development starts. This helps with employee empowerment and retention, Argenti said.   

Argenti’s interview comes as Goldman is shaking up divisions and management to elevate its tech offerings. His former co-CIO, George Lee, now leads Goldman’s new Office of Applied Innovation alongside former Alphabet executive Jared Cohen.  

Argenti’s not the only one waxing on about keeping engineers happy lately: A Capital One exec recently explained how the bank has motivated talent and mitigated burnout through automation. The emphasis makes sense: Despite layoffs across Wall Street more broadly, competition for engineers in the financial world is still fierce.   


Lloyds Bank aims to test out fintech partnerships faster and more easily through a new “sandbox” created by NayaOne.  

Evaluating a potential fintech partner doesn’t have to be a headache. So-called sandboxes – or self-contained test environments with synthetic data and prototyping tools – can take the pain out of proof-of-concepts for highly regulated incumbents that are eager to work with fintechs.

Lloyds Banking Group has launched a new “Innovation Sandbox” in partnership with NayaOne, which will accelerate its ability to evaluate fintechs.  

Relationships with cutting-edge startups can help legacy institutions like Lloyds bring new features to their products or revamp their own internal processes, but their security and regulatory requirements can mean that any integration requires significant investment – even before both parties decide a relationship is the ultimately the right fit.  

NayaOne aims to change that. Through its sandboxing tools, it promises to help highly regulated financial services firms test out fintech partnerships securely, in less time, and at a lower cost. 

“The launch of the Innovation Sandbox has improved our ability to experiment and learn with the fintechs at pace,” Lloyds’ chief technology officer Vic Weigler said in a press release.  


UBS slashed the energy consumption for some of its tech platform workloads by 30% – and has co-created an open-source tool with Microsoft to help other firms do the same.   

Cloud computing promises to bring advanced capabilities and efficiency to financial institutions, but it’s also an important tool to help them meet ambitious climate-related goals.

Data centers are energy hogs, so transitioning away from on-premise servers can be a boon for financial firms’ climate goals. UBS just underscored that potential by announcing that moving from its own private data centers to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform reduced the energy consumption of some workloads by nearly a third.  

The two firms also co-created an application programming interface (API) that recommends ways to schedule heavy workloads for times when clean or low-carbon sources of electricity are most available. The open-source software is available for other firms to use.  

This is the second recent example of a big financial institution teaming up with a cloud giant to co-launch software: Banco Santander and Google have partnered to sell technology that makes it easier to migrate from mainframes to the cloud. 

Ultimately, UBS plans to have more than 50% of its applications running on Microsoft’s cloud within five years. 

Quick Bits:

Personnel news: Silicon Valley Bank poached Laura Cushing from Loews to be its new chief human resources officer. Earlier in her career, Cushing spent more than a decade at JPMorgan. JPMorgan, meanwhile, made waves by hiring Aaron Iovine – who previously worked at the now-bankrupt crypto lender Celsius – as its new executive director for digital assets regulatory policy.

Creativity corner: US Bank just launched a new rewards card that uses LEDs to light up when used for contactless transactions. And Wells Fargo is Google-izing customer interactions by using the firm’s natural-language processing technology to power its new virtual assistant, Fargo.

Money moves: Despite economic uncertainty, worldwide IT spend is projected to grow 5.1% in 2023 to $4.6 trillion, according to Gartner: “CEOs and CFOs, rather than cutting IT budgets, are increasing spend on digital business initiatives.” Cybersecurity will once again be a top investment priority. In funding news, B2B accounts payable firm Finexio closed a $35 million Series B that included JPMorgan, Discover Financial Services, and Valley Bank.  



Thanks for reading! Want next week’s edition in your inbox? Sign up here