The top young financial minds can be found these days at buyout shops, hedge funds and investment banks, as well as innovative companies that do everything from facilitate payments to lend cryptocurrency. The rise of private equity and new financial technologies can especially be seen on this year’s 30 Under 30 Finance list.
The rising stars of finance are working at big institutions like Bridgewater Associates, Apollo Global Management, Goldman Sachs and KKR. They are also pushing forward smaller firms like Center Lake Capital, Divvy Homes and Celsius Network.
Magdalena Kala is a 29-year-old dealmaker who is helping drive consumer sector investments at Bain Capital, the $105 billion private equity giant. Her road to Bain Capital, where Kala is a vice president, started in a Polish farming village. There, Kala sent an email in broken English to 270 U.S. boarding schools looking for a scholarship. She landed at Pennsylvania’s Mercersburg Academy and made it to Harvard, where she attended an event that led to a job at Bain Capital. She helped hit a home run with Bain’s investment in Sundial Brands, which was sold to Unilever. Now, Kala is playing big role in Bain’s $3 billion Virgin Voyages cruise ship joint venture with Richard Branson. Kala writes a popular newsletter, Retales, about consumer behavior and consumer brand building.
At 29, Amber Feng is the head of corporate card at fintech giant Stripe, which was valued at $35 billion in its most recent funding round this September. Feng joined Stripe as one of the first 10 employees in 2012. She wrote most of the code for Stripe Connect, the product that helps companies like Lyft, Shopify and Kickstarter accept payments from tens of millions of customers. Feng went on to lead a 100-person team as Stripe’s head of infrastructure. Now she’s leading the new corporate credit card Stripe launched in September.
Naoki John Yoshida, 29, is a principal at Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm with $45 billion under management. Yoshida specializes in software investments and quarterbacked the $11 billion acquisition of Ultimate Software earlier this year and now sits on its board. He previously was a board member of Kronos, another big software firm. He started out as a Morgan Stanley investment banker.
Paul Gu is a cofounder and head of product at Upstart, an online lender that helps people refinance credit card debt. It was valued at $750 million at its last financing round. Gu, 28, leads the 20-person data science team, which uses machine learning and unconventional data (like your college major) to assess borrower risk. Upstart’s model “approves 27% more applicants than the traditional model, and yields 16% lower average APRs for approved loans” according to a CFPB study. Upstart is growing its business 80% a year, Gu says, and it brings in $200 million in annualized revenue, Forbes estimates.
A principal at Blackstone Group, the world’s biggest private equity firm and real estate investor, Adam Leslie leads real estate deals in the office and life science sectors. He spearheaded Blackstone’s recent $2 billion push into the Seattle office market. Leslie, 29, played a role in the $19 billion acquisition of GLP’s U.S. warehouse platform and the $5.5 billion acquisition of 11,000 apartments at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town/ Peter Cooper Village.
Sam Bobley, 28, is cofounder and CEO of Ocrolus, a five-year-old fintech startup that uses machine learning to read paper documents. When lenders like OnDeck and Sofi evaluate prospective customers, they use Ocrolus’ technology to read people’s bank statements, speeding up the approval and on-boarding process. Ocrolus is bringing in revenue of nearly $1 million a month and was valued at $100 million in its May 2019 fund raise.
Moiz Khan, 29, is responsible for $1 billion of investments at Palestra Capital, a strong-performing $3.5 billion hedge fund. He focuses on financial technology and vertical software stocks. His recent winning trades include Fidelity National Information Services and Fleetcor. Khan has also had stints at Fir Tree Partners and Warburg Pincus.
Maximilian Fikke is a 28-year-old principal at BC Partners, helping to lead software and technology investments at the $25 billion in assets private equity firm. Fikke worked on important deals like the $3 billion acquisition of Chewy, now a public company worth $9 billion, Navex Global, where he is a board observer, and Suddenlink, now called Altice USA.