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The 2016 Fintech Finance 35: Darren Cohen

< Fintech's Most Powerful Dealmakers of 20169. Darren CohenGlobal Head of Principal Strategic InvestmentsGoldman Sachs GroupPNR

A college major in philosophy and political science (Emory University, 1996) wouldn’t ordinarily point toward a career in financial technology, but it did for Darren Cohen, global head of principal strategic investments (PSI) at Goldman Sachs Group. Cohen is on his second tour with the New York–based bank: He started in 2000 as a software and technology sector analyst in London and returned in 2007 after four years covering software and technology services and surfacing investment ideas for Calypso Capital Management, a New York–based hedge fund. Over his years following fintech, “the pace of change, investment technology, the whole landscape has accelerated,” says the 42-year-old. (Thomas Jessop, No. 8 last year, who reported to Cohen in the PSI group, has since moved into a technology business development role at Goldman.) Examples of PSI holdings, generally defined as technologically disruptive and strategically related to capital market activities, are market analytics platform Kensho Technologies and Symphony Communication Services, the secure messaging and collaboration venture that was spun out of Goldman. Motif, a retail trading platform, and machine-learning analytics company Context Relevant are among more than 70 holdings in the Goldman portfolio, which, Cohen contends, is one of the biggest in the fintech world. “The company has always viewed technology as critical and has always been aggressive with technology because it affects how we make markets with our own clients,” he says. “The PSI team has been at the epicenter of most of the major market structure events in our industry.” The profile of co-investors has changed: They increasingly tend to be West Coast venture capital firms and buy-side clients rather than investment banks. Facing heightened regulation and other market headwinds, he says, firms “have realized over the past two years that disrupting financial technology is harder than the hype suggests.”

 The 2016 Fintech Finance 35 Click below to view profiles
1. Jonathan KorngoldGeneral Atlantic2. Matthew HarrisBain Capital Ventures3. Jane GladstoneEvercore Partners4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures5. Steven McLaughlinFinancial Technology Partners6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean ParkAnthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners9. Darren CohenGoldman Sachs Group10. Hans MorrisNyca Partners11. Meyer (Micky) MalkaRibbit Capital12. Maria GotschPartnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry SilbertDigital Currency Group14. Jay ReinemannPropel Venture Partners15. Mariano BelinkySantander InnoVentures16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSenaSenaHill Partners17. François RobinetAXA Strategic Ventures18. Vanessa ColellaCiti Ventures
19. Michael SchleinAccion International20. Kenneth MarlinMarlin & Associates21. Rumi MoralesCME Ventures22. Alastair (Alex) RampellAndreessen Horowitz23. Steve GibsonEuclid Opportunities24. Fabian VandenreydtSWIFT
25. Vladislav SolodkiyLife.SREDA26. Gardiner Garrard IIITTV Capital27. Nektarios LioliosStartupbootcamp Fintech28. Lawrence WintermeyerInnovate Finance29. Bina KalolaBank of America Merrill Lynch30. Hyder JaffreyFintech Innovation
31. Calvin ChoiAMTD Group32. Janos BarberisFinTech
Hong Kong33. Jalak JobanputraFuture Perfect Ventures34. Sopnendu MohantyMonetary Authority of Singapore35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
FinTech Fund