Goldman Sachs has launched its first-ever startup from its internal incubator, a networking platform for employees called Louisa. The New York-based investment bank funded and owned the startup until recently, when it became independent. Founder-CEO Rohan Doctor is now working to expand the client base beyond Goldman Sachs. Louisa is designed to automatically create user profiles from an employer’s databases and pull in newsfeeds to proactively connect people who might benefit from knowing each other. Doctor described Louisa as an AI-powered LinkedIn on steroids. Louisa has more than 20,000 monthly active users, according to Goldman Sachs.
Doctor, a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, got the idea for Louisa after landing a massive deal in 2018. After landing the transaction, he realized the real answer was serendipity and happenstance, and he thought there had to be a better way. Professional services firms like Goldman rely on the expertise and contacts of their employees, but there’s a limit to how many colleagues anyone can know. Louisa aims to solve this problem by connecting professionals with similar interests and skills.
Goldman Sachs has been seeking to speed up its digital transformation by hiring Google and Amazon executives and asking employees to pitch startup ideas. Louisa was part of the inaugural class of Goldman’s incubator program, which encourages employees with startup ideas to develop them in-house.
Doctor has begun signing up clients besides Goldman, including a commercial bank and a venture capital fund with nearly $100 billion in assets. They will focus initially on a small subset of five or six professional services clients before broadening their efforts.
Doctor believes two factors make his startup especially timely. The arrival of generative AI technology like OpenAI’s ChatGPT has created excitement in an otherwise subdued environment for technology firms. Further, remote and hybrid work has disrupted the way employees interact, creating the need for a networking platform like Louisa. The platform reads millions of articles a week from 250 providers and connects people based on possible deals gleaned from news.
Louisa is not only timely, but also cost-effective for companies. Doctor says that missed opportunities, disconnected colleagues and fractured client experiences cost companies billions of dollars. Louisa is designed to solve this problem by connecting professionals with similar interests and skills. The platform, which has been in operation for the past two and a half years, is now independent from Goldman Sachs and is set to grow beyond its initial client base.
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