Wells Fargo Success Story
Finding Emerging Tech Opportunities at Wells Fargo
Managing Director, Wells Fargo
Some years ago, a two-person tech company moved in across the street from our office and made us their banking partner. Today, they are one of the most visible tech companies in the world and we continue to enjoy a strong relationship.
But a tech company moving in across the street is clearly not our model for attracting new companies. We also have the privilege of serving as critical infrastructure partners to the largest global payment-tech companies, among others.
My main task, as the Head of Venture Capital coverage, is to develop relationships with investors, identify their portfolio companies early and enable their growth by leveraging the resources of our full-service platform either as bankers, buyers or investors.
The competition to provide both funding and banking services to venture backed technology companies is intense. This gets even harder when the majority of introductory meetings are virtual. The in-person factor is gone, at least temporarily. You only get one chance to make a first impression and much of the chemistry that develops before or after an in-person meeting is lost.
So how do you make sure you are finding the right companies that will generate deep relationships? Who is really going to disrupt an industry? Even once we select the right company, there’s no guarantee. How do we make that great first impression? How do we convince them that we are going to be a good partner in the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee?
For us, we have been successful, in part, by leveraging CB Insights.
Increasing Efficiency by Focusing on the Right Companies
Before, we had lists of lists of companies and suffered from “list fatigue.” Now with CB Insights, we are finding the right opportunities, zeroing in on emerging tech startups and adding relationships in an entirely new, refreshing way.
There’s only so much time in the day. And just like everyone else, we have finite resources. So, the CB Insights Mosaic score is one very useful tool that we frequently use as a filter.
To have an unbiased organization like CB Insights engineer a score based on the right metrics that indicates whether a given company will be successful or not is a game changer. It strongly increases our ability to focus on companies with a higher likelihood of success, because we are able to examine prospects that automatically match a custom criteria that aligns with our strategy. Once we started using the CB Insights platform, it vastly improved our overall strategic process, in addition to being a major time-saver.
Bankers are recognized and rewarded for new client acquisition. In other words, you need to attract new companies every year. A third of our client outreach comes directly from CB Insights and we expect that to continue to grow.
We are able to source and vet companies faster with CB Insights because we can get a full picture of each company. It allows us to be more thoughtful about approaching companies that are well matched to our capabilities.
Building Knowledge and Making Connections with Founders
During conversations with founders, we traverse a range of sub sectors within tech. In one conversation, we may be talking with a software developer who holds his or her own US patents in machine learning, and in another it could be a nuanced area of fintech — a discussion we simply cannot go into without an understanding of at least the fundamentals.
CB Insights is that go-to resource for me so we can get educated on the basics and then engage in a fruitful conversation. This is where their market maps are crucial. With just a few minutes to spare, it is an incredibly helpful tool to put things in perspective.
The Fintech 250 is an example of a CB Insights market map, here featuring companies operating in a particular market (fintech) grouped by their area of focus.
We can quickly grasp not only what these startups are pursuing but get instant context through a simple, well-designed market map that shows where they sit within their niche and within their greater industry.
To know one company on its own is fine, but it’s even better if we know their place in the top three out of the top 100. And, if you want zero in, CB Insights has research on them all. And importantly, we have an incredible client services individual dedicated to helping us navigate the portal and maximize its potential.
It doesn’t hurt with introductions, either. Thanks to the wealth of knowledge we have access to with CB Insights, we are now recognized as a venerable member of the venture capital ecosystem. It’s a role that starts conversations and opens doors.
Future Opportunities Powered by CB Insights
We have taken a new approach to our client acquisition strategy. And it is powered by CB Insights.
Not only do we have critical company insights to find our next relationships, but we can also get up to speed quickly on different markets and subsectors to stand out to potential founders and from the crowd.
Managing Director, Wells Fargo
Rahul is the Head of Venture Capital Coverage at Wells Fargo. He is responsible for managing the relationships with venture capital firms and developing banking opportunities with their portfolio companies.
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