Technology has altered every facet of our life. Romesh Jayawickrama, CEO of BankerBay. worked for over 20 years in the world of investment banking and saw the tremendous transformative potential technology could have in the field. In 2014, he started BankerBay with a vision to challenge an industry that hasn’t changed in almost 200 years by introducing technology where it had never been used before. BankerBay is currently the largest private equity deal platform in the world. We chat with Romesh about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
While working with the largest investment banks around the world, I identified a systemic problem — the inefficient opaqueness of the industry. That opaqueness stems from the primarily manual, who-you-know process followed by investment bankers across the world. So, I left an established company to follow my belief in a greater need – a need to change the archaic investment banking industry – and started BankerBay. The idea is to challenge an industry that has not changed since early 1900’s and introduce the use of technology where it has never been used before. Taking logic from contemporary consumer and social behaviour, BankerBay applies it to the relevant functions in the investment-banking world.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Constant innovation and listening to what the market needs has been key to BankerBay’s success. Product brainstorming every week, while taking into consideration how customers are using the platform, has ensured the product moves up the value chain. While we initially focused on the fragmented middle-market private equity funding deals in Asia, we soon rolled out globally. The market then indicated the need for a dedicated Mergers & Acquisitions solution so we built the BankerBay M&A Vault, a platform that attracted transactions worth $9 billion in just eight weeks from the launch date. Soon, our users hinted that they were looking for a solution to cover commercial real estate deals. We got market specialist on board and launched a dedicated platform to cover the asset class. In just over six months, the new platform attracted institutional quality transactions worth over $7 billion and continues to grow at a stellar pace.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business?
The investment banking industry and its resistance to change has been our biggest challenge. We set out to disrupt the investment banking industry that has remained unchanged for over 200 years and there was a visible reluctance to adopt new technology.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
In terms of mentorship- it’s not been one person alone. We have a set of very experienced advisors, and a formal board of directors that consists of some of the most experienced and accomplished minds in the banking industry. They have constantly counselled us through the various challenges that we have faced in our short but very fruitful journey.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
As a Fintech company, we solve problems using technology where possible. We use open source technologies and customize them to our needs in a manner that serves our product best. Similarly, we use cloud infrastructure and a number of cloud based solutions such as Google Apps, Asana, Quickbooks and Zoho for internal operations purposes.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I believe the most important skills that any successful entrepreneur needs is passion, tenacity and creativity. Visit the website: https://www.bankerbay.com/ Follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BankerBay