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The 2016 Fintech Finance 35: Darren Cohen

No. 9

9. Darren Cohen
Global Head of Principal Strategic Investments
Goldman Sachs Group

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

1. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
2. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
3. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
5. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners
9. Darren Cohen
Goldman Sachs Group
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
12. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Propel Venture Partners
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
17. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
18. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
19. Michael Schlein
Accion International
20. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
21. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
22. Alastair (Alex) Rampell
Andreessen Horowitz
23. Steve Gibson
Euclid Opportunities
24. Fabian Vandenreydt
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
26. Gardiner Garrard III
TTV Capital
27. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp Fintech
28. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
29. Bina Kalola
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
30. Hyder Jaffrey
Fintech Innovation
31. Calvin Choi
AMTD Group
32. Janos Barberis
Hong Kong
33. Jalak Jobanputra
Future Perfect Ventures
34. Sopnendu Mohanty
Monetary Authority of Singapore
35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
FinTech Fund

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