Louisa CEO and Founder Rohan Doctor
Source: Goldman Sachs
Goldman SachsKnown more for its Wall Street bankers than its technology, it just spun out its first startup from its in-house incubator.
The company, a web platform called Employee LouisaAccording to the founder and CEO, the company was funded and owned by the New York-based investment bank until a few weeks ago, when it became independent Doctor Rohan.
Now the Doctor is trying to expand his client base beyond Goldman Sachs, whose employees have been using Louisa for the past two and a half years. The software automatically creates user profiles from employers’ databases and pulls in newsfeeds to proactively connect with people who might benefit from getting to know each other, he said.
“Think of Louisa as an AI-driven LinkedIn,” Doctor, 42, said in an interview this week. “We had smart profiles and smart networks, and Luisa read millions of articles a week from 250 providers and started connecting people based on possible deals gleaned from the news,” he said.
Under CEO David Solomon, Goldman Sachs tries to accelerate its digital transformation with hiring Google and amazon executives, and ask employees to sell entrepreneurial ideas to leaders. Louisa was a member of the inaugural class of the Goldman Sachs incubator program, which encourages employees with entrepreneurial ideas to develop internally.
The Doctor, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs as Head of Banking Solutions in Hong Kong and London, came up with the idea for Louisa after a big deal in 2018.
The euphoria of securing transactions, complex risk transfers worth tens of millions of dollars between banks and insurance companies, and with it the nagging questions: How did the doctor succeed, and is it repeatable?
“The real answer is serendipity, chance events,” he said. “I was thirsty at the same time as another guy and it was such a blessing to go to a (pub) in London and start exchanging messages.”
There must be a better way, the doctor thought. Professional services firms like Goldman Sachs rely on the expertise and connections of their employees, but there are only so many colleagues anyone can know.
“It’s costing companies billions in missed opportunities, disconnected colleagues and broken customer experiences,” he said.
So he moved from Hong Kong to New York and started hiring programmers for his initial jobs.
The company name originally referred to Louisa Goldman Sachs, youngest daughter Wife of Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs. But given how Doctor has had to pander to Goldman’s rivals, the startup’s name is now more commonly used to refer to a “famous warrior,” he said.
Louisa has more than 20,000 monthly active users, according to Goldman Sachs, which declined to say how much it invested in starting the company.
Doctor has already begun signing clients other than Goldman Sachs, including a merchant bank and a venture capital fund with nearly $100 billion in assets, he said. They will initially focus on a small group of five or six professional services clients before expanding their work, he said.
He believes two factors make his venture particularly timely.
The Arrival of Generative AI Technologies OpenAI’s ChatGPT has brought excitement to tech companies in an otherwise sluggish environment, he said.
“What OpenAI does is extraordinary,” he said. “We can use this to map out in seconds what people think and how they want to describe themselves.”
Additionally, remote and hybrid work has disrupted the way employees interact, creating a need for networking platforms like Louisa, Doctor said.
“If you had a question, it used to be that you would lean around a crowded trading floor and ask,” he said. “Hybrid is here to stay, and even where it’s not needed, it’s no longer valid to ask around.”