Morning Coffee: 29-year-old ex-BlackRock junior's $1bn AI company. Nightmare of the 1,700 job applications
Every generation has its own form of FOMO. For bankers in the early 2000s, it was the lure of founding a "dot.com." For bankers of the early 2020s, it was the lure of a "start-up." For bankers of '23/'24, it's the feeling that you should be involved in AI. If you are suffering from the current affliction, then look away now.
29-year-old Mati Staniszewski worked in finance, briefly. When he left Imperial College, London, with one of the top marks in the year in mathematics, he worked first for a software company and then for BlackRock, where he spent fourteen months modelling structured products and working on the Aladdin Wealth Platform. He then spent just under four years at Palantir, and aged 27 left to live the dream. Staniszewski founded an AI company. Two years later, it's worth $1bn.
Staniszewski's ElevenLabs is all about using AI to generate voices for video. It can be used to dub movies. It can be used to create "verified" versions of your own voice and to sell them for a fee. It can be used to clone voices, to transform voices and to create "bespoke" voices. Former Github CEO Nat Friedman joined the latest funding round.
Staniszewski doesn't plan to use his good fortune to travel the world or take time out. The new funding, which gave rise to the $1bn valuation, is being used to expand the company. “We need more engineers and we need people who will sell the technology to clients," he said. "Research is an important part of what we do and costs of the developing the models will go into the tens of millions of dollars to train the models and compete in the market.”
If you want to leave financial services and work for a 29-year-old AI entrepreneur, now's your chance.
Separately, if you've sent out 20 job applications and are feeling demotivated after a lack of success, spare a thought for Peyton Nibblett, who has sent out 1,700 and is still without a job.
The Wall Street Journal says 23-year-old Nibblett did have a job. He was earning $75k a year at an executive search firm, but since losing that position he's been unable to find anything else. It's symptomatic of what the WSJ says is a new labour market where employers have all the power. “I do have experience, but it’s not the sheer breadth of experience that all these other laid-off hires have,” says Nibblett. “I’m trying to compete with them for entry-level roles because we’re all taking pay cuts.” Founding an AI firm is not always an option.
Balyasny has built a series of AI bots around a chat GPT tool. Among other things, it's used these to reduce the time needed to produce monthly analysis documents from two days to 30 minutes. (Business Insider)
BNP Paribas has set a new target for 50% women at analyst and associate levels. (Financial News)
Citi cut investment banker bonuses by up to 20%. (Financial News)
The greening of the area outside Bank station. “When you came out of Bank station 20 years ago, the first thing you wanted to do was get out. It smelled, with traffic and fumes everywhere. We’ve tried to make it a place where you can come and sit, and you can wayfind.” Maybe even stop and enjoy a flat white or meet a friend." (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs, Citi and Barclays are pitching to refinance leveraged debt that went to direct lenders when markets were volatile. (Bloomberg)
The proportion of Bank of America’s commercial real estate (CRE) loans tagged as non-performing ballooned sevenfold in 2023. The bank’s non-performing CRE loans grew from $271 million to more than $1.9 billion over the year, pushing the proportion of soured CRE loans from 0.39% to 2.64%. (Risk)
The asset management PR who survived being run over by two trains did so because she controlled her heart rate and slowed her breathing so that she didn't bleed out. (Financial News)
Citadel generated $8.1bn in profits for clients last year and has generated $74bn in profits since its inception. (Forbes)
Alphabet CFO and ex-Morgan Stanley banker Ruth Porat had breast cancer. (Bloomberg)
Credit Suisse pioneered debt for nature swaps, and now everyone is interested. (Bloomberg)
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