The Fintech Finance 40: Gerard von Dohlen
Partner, Broadhaven Capital Partners
Currently ranked: 5
Previously ranked: 8
Broadhaven Capital Partners, co-founded in 2009 by Wall Street veteran Gerard von Dohlen, has become the go-to advisory firm for fintech deals with multibank backing.
The firm advised R3, a blockchain technology developer, on the biggest financing in its field: a $107 million series A round from more than 40 investors, including banks such as Bank of America Corp. and HSBC Holdings, and firms like Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, and U.S.-based Intel Corp.’s investment arm. The deal, announced in May, gave Broadhaven the opportunity to show how its independent advisory approach can help “reduce friction” in complex multiparty negotiations that unfold over a long period, says von Dohlen, a partner with Broadhaven.
“It requires diplomacy,” he says.
Pressured by costs and regulation, the financial industry is relying more on joint ventures to share expenses and spread risks. This trend is increasing opportunities for New York–based Broadhaven, which, beyond advising on fintech financing and mergers and acquisitions, does its own investing through a venture fund overseen by co-founder Greg Phillips.
The firm’s versatility and von Dohlen’s diplomatic touch are seen elsewhere in complex deal making.
In 2016, Broadhaven advised REDI Holdings, then owned by a group of banks including Goldman Sachs Group, on its sale to Thomson Reuters, which was completed in January 2017. And in 2015 the firm advised on the recapitalization of AcadiaSoft, a deal that increased the number of banks in the joint venture’s ownership to 13. BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Société Générale, and UBS Group became new investors in the company, which provides margin call automation in collateral management, alongside such backers as ICAP and Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
Also in 2015, Broadhaven advised Symphony Communication Services, whose owners include Goldman Sachs, on a $100 million-plus financing that backed its new messaging platform, created as an alternative to the Bloomberg chat tool used by Wall Street firms.
Last year, Broadhaven opened a San Francisco office to keep a closer eye on emerging technologies in Silicon Valley. The investment bank has increased headcount by a third over the past year, to more than 40, says von Dohlen, forming teams to carry out new initiatives such as those focusing on specialty finance.
Among the recent hires are Kurt von Holzhausen and Todd Owens — former colleagues of von Dohlen’s at Goldman Sachs — who joined Broadhaven’s New York office last year as partners.
Meanwhile, the firm continues to advise on M&A in the financial industry. Broadhaven provided advice to Pax World Management in its September agreement to be bought by Impax Asset Management, and assisted CBOE Holdings with its $3.4 billion purchase of Bats Global Markets, completed earlier in 2017.