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How I Think

👋 Bye Goldman Sachs

Published over 1 year ago • 3 min read

Hey friend,

I got big life news. I left my investment banking job at Goldman Sachs.

And I'm joining a Series A fintech/crypto startup here in NYC.

Today, I'll share...

  • Why I Left
  • Who I'm joining
  • Why I chose them

Buckle up...

Why I Left

You probably are expecting to read something like...

"Wooo big banks suck and I want to join some startup to get fancier oat milk and wear a t-shirt to work every day!"

This could not be farther from the truth.

Goldman Sachs made me into a machine that could...

  1. Work crazy hours (9 am to 2 am regularly)
  2. Develop insane attention to detail (try correcting commas until 1 am)
  3. Learn how to prioritize projects with 1,000's of emails flooding my inbox

I also worked with some very smart people. So why leave?

Look, I am insanely grateful for the opportunity at Goldman. And tbh, I loved my team.

But I'm leaving for two big reasons.

1) Learning Curve

During my first year, I was involved in 8 Goldman-led deals ranging from software buyouts to bond issuances.

The average banking analyst only leads 2 deals in a whole year!

So I went from barely understanding EBITDA to picking apart credit agreements and cash flow models.

But after a year, it was clear. Any new skills I picked up would only be useful as a career investment banker.

2) Career Aspirations

Almost everyone that works in investment banking wants to do three things:

  1. Keep working in investment banking
  2. Work at a private equity (credit) fund
  3. Work at a hedge fund

I don't want these careers. I want to build my own startup.

But most importantly, I have crazy conviction in this team and this opportunity. Or else I wouldn't be making the leap...

Who I'm Joining and Why

The startup is called Meow (website here).

Yes, literally the cat noise that makes you kinda want to giggle.

And no they don't sell cat food. We do corporate treasury management.

Uhhhh Chris what the heck does that mean?

Let me make it simple:

Companies have extra cash sitting in their Bank of America savings accounts earning 0.01% interest.

Meow helps you earn higher interest on that idle cash while obsessing over safety, security and compliance.

Extra yield could be up to 4% for over-collateralized crypto lending.

Or it could be traditional banking products like a high yield savings accounts or direct investment in US Government Treasury Bills.

And it's all packaged into one simple dashboard.

The big vision is B2B payments and a full-stack solution to help businesses diversify risk and fight The Cookie Monster of Inflation.

My job?

Everything except engineering. To start, I'll be focused on go-to-market (business development, marketing, etc).

But as with any startup, my job is to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

Why I Chose Them

1. The Team

The founding team is 5 early security software engineers at Gemini. This is like joining Facebook or Uber in the 2000s but for crypto.

Given they spent time on the ground floor of U.S. regulated crypto exchange in 2016, they deeply understand the web3 world.

But what I love is they don't care about the hype and bullsh*t in the space.

They only care about building products that are better.

Also my new CEO Brandon reminds me of a navy seal that writes software.

And this is the exact type of guy that I want to follow into battle everyday.

2. Risk Profile

They just closed a $22 million Series A led by Tiger Global, QED Ventures, and FTX in about a week.

How? They have real revenue, real customers, and real momentum.

But with a small team and 10+ years of cash in the bank, we don't need to fundraise for the next few years.

And this is a big advantage given today's choppy economy.

3. Industry

Building the future of finance fires me up. And this product gets me way too excited.

I want to build at the intersection of crypto and fintech because it's a place I could see myself starting my own company one day.

So there you have it... Baller team. The right risk profile. Exciting industry...


The Wrap Up

Over the past few years, I've done a lot of learning.

This includes writing on twitter, interviewing people like Emmett Shear and Kevin Ryan, and filling my brain with finance.

But the truth is you learn 100x more building versus observing.

Does this career move have risk?

Of course. But as Marc Andreessen says,

"Without taking risk, you can’t exploit any opportunities. You can live a quiet and reasonably happy life, but you are unlikely to create something new and make your mark on the world."

I'm getting off the credential treadmill to make my mark.

And boy am I excited for the ride ahead.

That's all I got,

Chris Hladczuk

p.s. If you're building your own startup (or work in the finance department), click the big red button below!

p.s. if you loved this, forward it to a friend. if you hated this, forward it to an enemy. And if you're new, hit the big blue button below...

How I Think

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