Revenue & Growth posts

The Toptal Finance Blog covers all facets of finance, ranging from detailed strategies on raising capital to in-depth coverage of new finance trends and technologies.
Javier Enrile
M&A Negotiation Tactics and Strategies: Tips from a Pro

Mergers and acquisitions are headline-grabbing events that are often the pinnacle of a CEO’s career. But they also often fail to generate value, as numerous studies over the years have shown.

With over 15 years of experience doing M&A deals, Toptal Finance Expert Javier Enrile shows that the main reason for disappointing results is simple: Most people think M&A is merely an exercise of agreeing on a price for the deal. What they fail to understand is that there is a science to doing M&A that often makes the difference between a deal being successful or not.

In this article, Enrile runs through three key tactics for ensuring your company can get the most value out of an M&A transaction.

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Alex Graham
Do Economic Moats Still Matter?

Companies, like castles, need a line of defense to repel the invaders’ advances. Economic moats, taking a cue from their watery namesakes, are long-term and sustainable competitive advantages that protect others from seizing market share. But on the flipside, are they actually just lazy, passive strategies that shun innovation?

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Stefan Josefsson
Forecaster’s Toolbox: How to Perform Monte Carlo Simulations

One of the most important and challenging aspects of forecasting is handling the uncertainty inherent in examining the future. Every CEO, CFO, board member, investor, or investment committee member brings their own experience and approach to financial projections and uncertainty, influenced by different incentives. Oftentimes, comparing actual outcomes against projections underscores the need to explicitly recognize uncertainty.

Monte Carlo simulations are an extremely effective tool for handling risks and probabilities, used for everything from constructing DCF valuations, valuing call options in M&A, and discussing risks with lenders to seeking financing and guiding the allocation of VC funding for startups. This article provides a step-by-step tutorial on using Monte Carlo simulations in practice.

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Toby Clarence-Smith
The Most Exciting Asset Class in Private Equity? Search Funds from the Investor’s Perspective

In the current low interest rate environment, investors have been increasingly moving towards alternative asset classes, particularly private equity which continues to attract the lion’s share of investor capital. But could a relatively unknown, niche new asset class hold the key for outsized market performance?

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Toby Clarence-Smith uncovers the world of search fund investing, reviewing some of the key aspects of the asset class from the investor standpoint as well as running through the main benefits of putting money to work in this space.

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
Legal Sports Betting: A New Economy Built on Vice

In the last Super Bowl when the New England Patriots faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles, Americans bet a staggering $4.76 billion on the game. 97% of that figure was done so illegally. However, this will likely change by the time the next Super Bowl rolls around. In a hotly anticipated move on May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for states to legalize sports betting.

This article covers the foundations of sports betting, including its $150 billion market size, implementation timeline, and revenue distribution. It will also examine the implications of its legalization, including increased sports engagement and popularity, ethical concerns, fresh opportunities, and its impact on fantasy sports and eSports.

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Toby Clarence-Smith
Don't Scale an Unprofitable Business: Why Unit Economics (Still) Matter

With venture funding having grown more than 120% in the US in the last five years, startup founders and investors alike have grown increasingly comfortable with low margin business models. But the successes of the Amazons and Facebooks of this world often mask failure in a slew of other sectors, where the “build it and they will come” model doesn’t always work.

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Toby Clarence-Smith brings attention back to the importance of studying a business’ long-term sustainability prospects, with a particular focus on unit economics, one of the building blocks of profitability and breakeven analysis for startups.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
Mission Statements: How Effectively Used Intangible Assets Create Corporate Value

Of the three functional categories that drive value in business—i.e., the “hard,” the “soft,” and the “intangible”—mission statements comfortably reside in the third, alongside such concepts as brand and culture.

But despite the skepticism that is often associated with this category, and having uncovered some of the greatest gems in the corporate arena, this article argues that mission statements, when crafted and utilized effectively, are capable of driving billions of dollars in value.

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William B. Doyle, Jr.
Selling a Business for Maximum Value in a Challenging M&A Market

With $936 billion of uninvested private equity capital inching down market, why do 46% to 80% of lower middle market sell-side transactions fail to close? The usual answer is that companies are not ready for buyers’ examination and owners can be overly optimistic or even greedy.

Business owners can do much more to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Success boils down to the following: (1) take the time and do the work to prepare for an exit transaction and (2) apply “intelligent greed” to close your best deal.

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
How to Be an Amazing Financial Consultant

Fewer than 3% of applicants make it through Toptal Finance’s rigorous screening process. How do the best of the best become such effective financial consultants? We sat down with one of Toptal’s most on-demand financial consultants, Jeffrey Fidelman, who shared his proprietary methods for ensuring success for his clients and how he has grown his own business exponentially.

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David Turney
Estimating WACC for Private Company Valuation: A Tutorial

The discount rate is a critical input in any discounted cash flow valuation analysis. How does an analyst estimate a reasonable discount rate for a private company that has no publicly traded debt or equity?

This article focuses on best practices for estimation of the WACC in the context of a private company valuation. The discussion begins with an overview of the WACC, background on the components of the WACC, methods to estimate the WACC components for private companies, and an example of how to apply this framework to estimate a privately-held building materials company.

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Alberto Mihelcic Bazzana
Advanced Financial Modeling Best Practices: Hacks for Intelligent, Error-Free Modeling

From abstract spreadsheets to real-world application, financial models have become an inextricable part of business life and an indispensable part of every company’s toolkit. But irrespective of its ubiquitousness as a productivity and decision-making tool, many out there still have a love-hate relationship with it.

Finance expert Alberto Bazzana authors a comprehensive “how-to guide”, for both the novices and experts among us, detailing Wall Street’s best practices for intelligent, effective, and error-free financial modeling.

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Melissa Lin
Private Equity Succession Planning Do’s and Don’ts

While growing investor enthusiasm has contributed to a historic $3 trillion of fundraising over the last five years, the PE industry faces increasing competition amongst firms, record-high multiples and other factors making it difficult to generate attractive returns. One aspect for consideration is succession planning, especially since CEO turnover at portfolio companies occurs at a rate of 73% and can increase hold times and decrease returns.

This article defines succession planning, and examines the best practices and mistakes to avoid in succession planning for PE portfolio companies. It also explores succession planning within private equity firms themselves, something PE firms have been uncharacteristically proactive about confronting recently.

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Vidur G. Gupta
Family Office Investment Guide: An Alternative to Venture Capital

The origins of family office investing date back, colorfully, to at least 15th century Florence, when the Medicis auspiciously gave the likes of Michelangelo and Da Vinci their start. Fast forward to present day, family offices have quietly continued to rival household VC names in the capital structures of the world’s largest tech companies (Uber, Facebook, and WeWork, for example).

Finance Expert Vidur Gupta presents a captivating introductory piece on the secretive but potent world of family office investing.

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Erik Frederick
The Financial Implications of Technical Debt

Technical debt, which relates to suboptimal technology infrastructure in an organization, can actually be a huge financial burden on a business. However, like traditional financial debt, there are steps and processes that can be taken to manage and mitigate the risk. In this article, we elaborate on how CFOs can tackle their technical debt burden.

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Melissa Lin
Waking Up a Sleeping Industry: Mattress Industry Disruption

Once crammed into stuffy showrooms with eager salespeople and a dizzying plethora of models, mattress purchases used to be notoriously complicated. However, a upstarts have recently revitalized the industry with innovations in marketing, delivery, and a direct-to-consumer model.

It’s true that the mattress industry is experiencing an upheaval, but rather than the typical narrative of newer operations completely displacing older ones, perhaps there’s room for both collaboration and innovation. There are lessons for investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate moguls alike.

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David Turney
Professional Sports Franchise Valuation

Professional sports franchises continue to see record sale prices. But what drives a team like the Dallas Cowboys, who haven’t won a Super Bowl in over 20 years, to top the list of the most valuable sports franchises in the United States?

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert David Turney provides an overview of professional sports economics, unique valuation considerations, and a team valuation example.

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Emilio Labrador
Latin America M&A Best Practices

Latin America boasts great investment opportunities with attractive risk levels, higher returns than home markets, and access to a large population base with growing income. However, Latin American acquisitions require special attention and include a number of difficulties unique to the region.

This article provides insights gleaned from Finance Expert Emilio Labrador’s 15 years of experience in Latin American oil and gas M&A. It provides practical tips for foreign acquirers considering investments in Latin America, on topics ranging from risk premiums in valuation, accounting due diligence, and legal considerations.

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Jacob Wright
Corporate Tax Reform and the Future of Valuation

In December 2017, Congress’ tax reform bill, amongst many sweeping changes, reduced the marginal tax rate to 21% from 35% for corporations, and limited their use of interest expense as a tax shield.

This article explores the implications of these changes for traditional methods of valuation, including the discounted cash flow (DCF) method and the EBITDA multiple method for the corporate manager and finance professional.

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Patrick Gaffney
Is $4.2 Billion Reasonable? How to Evaluate Instacart's Valuation

Grocery delivery startup Instacart has recently been valued at $4.2 billion. In this article, Finance Expert Patrick Gaffney works backwards and uses some basic assumptions to determine if the valuation is reasonable.

With companies opting to stay private for longer, analyzing private companies in this way can help us better understand industries typically shrouded in secrecy and provide clarity on the efficacy of certain business models.

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Javier Enrile
Earnouts: Structures For Breaking Negotiation Deadlocks

The discipline of mergers and acquisitions is a complex and labyrinthine one, peppered with its share of false starts, thrilling chases, and heartbreaking shortfalls.

Toptal Finance Expert, Javier Enrile, explores the use and structuring of earnouts as one of the most effective tools for the M&A practitioner seeking to break negotiation deadlocks and mitigate risk.

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Patrick E. Donohue
How to Build and Utilize a High-Impact Advisory Board

Advisory boards are undoubtedly controversial. While many articles sing their praises, others condemn them as mere headshots in pitch decks. The truth is that advisory boards are usually not silver bullets. Still, they can be powerful tools and yield strong ROI—if executed properly.

This article includes an overview of advisory boards, their economics, when they can and should be used, and a step-by-step guide to building one.

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Chris Hearing
Principles of Organizational Design and Optimization: Lessons From The Great Recession

In 2006, Ford Motor Company’s losses came in at a staggering $12.7 billion; but four years later, profits had rebounded to $6.6 billion. At around the same time, Carlos Brito’s “one firm, one culture” optimization policy delivered $2.3 billion in synergies, exceeding pre-merger projections for Anheuser-Busch’s combination with InBev by 50%.

Both Ford and AB InBev’s CEOs achieved these results by adeptly applying the principles of organizational optimization—concepts explored by Toptal Finance Restructuring Expert, Christopher Hearing, in this article.

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Alex Graham
ICOs, Exotics and Platforms - An Insider’s Perspective on the Future of Venture Capital

2017 saw a number of issues arise in the VC industry and it may be approaching a watershed regarding its relevance.

This article looks into the root causes of the industry’s problems and why they have come to light. VCs can go through a pivot of their own to retain a seat at the table, with big data, exotic funds and platforms offering a path forward.

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Melissa Lin
Will Spotify's Non-IPO Pave the Way for Tech Companies?

This year, Spotify will move its headquarters from Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood downtown to the Financial District. Beyond its physical presence, Spotify will also make its mark at NYSE when it goes public via direct listing, an unusual choice. What is expected to be the largest tech public debut of 2018 has set Wall Street and the music industry abuzz, with everyone eager to see how this unconventional approach will play out.

This article covers everything you need to know: a brief overview of the typical IPO process, how the direct listing will function, why Spotify chose to buck tradition, potential motivations behind the decision, and its potential implications.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
Price Elasticity 2.0: From Theory to The Real World

Price elasticity theory was once the haunt of classical economists, with loose applications in the real world. Today, companies such as Uber, with its sheer volume of data and surge algorithms, are able to continuously triangulate price elasticities in real time to manipulate demand, moment-to-moment.

This article introduces the fundamentals of price elasticity of demand theory before taking us back into the real world, where theory will meet both big data and consumer psychology to create new possibilities.

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Zachary Elfman
Are Art Investments a Worthwhile Asset Class?

Did you know that, in 2016, $60 billion was invested in art, which was comparable to the exit proceeds from venture capital investing?

This article sheds light on the opaque world of art investments and whether it’s a realistic choice for inclusion in portfolios. The article covers types of art as well as how investments are valued and return performance relative to other assets.

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Raphael Rottgen, CFA
Investing in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Guide

So, you’ve decided to get exposure to cryptocurrencies. In this newer space, a personal financial advisor may not be of great help. Neither will your banker, unless you are a customer of a limited number of progressive Swiss private banks, which facilitate crypto trading. What now?

This article provides practical information and resources around passive vs. active cryptocurrency investing, how to buy, sell, store, and monitor cryptocurrencies, as well as tax regulations in the space.

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Jack Barker
The Looming Crisis in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

Millions of Americans depend on continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) for care as they age. In addition to living accommodations and medical services, these facilities also offer complex embedded insurance products that are improperly underwritten and insufficiently regulated.

As a result, many CCRCs are actuarially insolvent, creating a systemic risk that could leave many ageing residents financially and medically exposed at the end of their lives. Finance Expert, Jack Barker, takes us through these sector challenges and shares a proprietary capitalization model that could potentially help alleviate the issues.

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Melissa Lin
Everything You Need to Know about the CVS-Aetna Merger

Candy, cosmetics… and medical care? In a vertical merger valued at a whopping $69 billion, your favorite stop-in, CVS, plans to buy Aetna. If it goes through, it will be the largest deal of 2017 and the largest healthcare deal to date.

Amidst all the buzz surrounding the merger, this article elucidates the motivations behind it, including operational cost-cutting, expanded services as a competitive advantage, and threats from both Amazon and UnitedHealth. This piece also explores potential market effects.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
An Investor’s Guide to Palm Oil

To the novice investor or otherwise uninitiated, the ubiquity of palm oil as a global commodity cannot be overstated. It is a super crop with EBITDA margins > 50%, is the world’s most consumed edible oil, and is one of the most versatile raw material/substrate bases known to industry.

This article explores the sparsely understood world of palm, including its cultivation, harvest, and application processes; its financial and investment profile; and ultimately the trends governing its future.

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Matt Dixon
Soul Hypercyle and the Wave of New Fitness Boutiques

The fitness industry is large, growing steadily and rapidly evolving. Since the 1980s, health club locations and memberships have more than tripled to 36,000 and 57 million, respectively. Yet, over the past decade, 35% of its customer base has shifted away from incumbent brands.

This article analyzes some of the shifts in the fitness industry that are illustrative of broader economic issues and highlights interesting implications for other consumer-facing businesses.

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Michael Yarmo
Meal Kit Industry Blues: How Can Blue Apron Lift Its Malaise?

In the past five years, Blue Apron has brought meal kits to the masses and commands a 40% market share in the USA. Yet all is not rosy; its financial losses have continually accelerated and it has ceded 17% of its market share in the past year.

Amazon buying Whole Foods on the eve of its 2017 IPO could have just been bad luck, or prescient signs of what’s to come for Blue Apron. This article looks at ways that the business can get its house in order and win back the Millennial kitchen.

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
2017 Holiday Spending Forecast: Will Be Better Than Expected

Retail investors have had a rough year. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 30 percentage points. From eCommerce shifts to higher gas prices, there are plenty of arguments to be made against retail. Yet, there are a couple reasons to be jolly heading into the holiday season that few are talking about.

In this article, Elizabeth Hanano, CFA suggests that low expectations combined with lesser-known tailwinds indicate it may be time to dip a toe back into the retail pond.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
The Wealth of Nations: Investment Strategies of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Since their emergence in the early 2000s, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) have been met with both curiosity and trepidation, existing somewhere between return-maximizing asset manager and clandestine government agency.

This article takes us into the $7.4 trillion world of the SWF, shedding light on objectives, ambitions, and mandates as well as allocation strategies.

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Melissa Lin
Are Corporate Responsibility Efforts Profitable?

Financial purists have long questioned whether corporate, environmental, and social initiatives benefit the bottom line and how to quantify their impact.

In this article, we put aside motive—of genuine altruism or self interest—and philosophical debates around moral obligation. Instead, we examine the results of studies around whether corporate responsibility initiatives positively impact profitability, examples of companies that have implemented such measures successfully, and recommendations for those looking to do so.

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Jonathan Sterling
Exploring the Bear Case of the Cryptocurrency Bubble

The arguments for a cryptocurrency revolution can tend to sway toward appearing more like get-rich-quick schemes than balanced debates. The regulatory risk overhang, constant scams, and technological immaturity of the movement mean that long-term success is far from certain.

In this article, Jonathan Sterling addresses the other side of the argument: the bear case for a crypto future. He shines a light on the problems blighting cryptocurrencies and some remedies for them, drawing upon comparisons with historic bubbles, some centuries old.

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Gregory Thompson
Small Data, Big Opportunities

By now, most have heard of Big Data – the buzzword d’jour across most business circles. In this exploratory piece, Finance Expert, Gregory Thompson, introduces us to the wonderful world of Small Data.

Specifically, he guides us through its broader market dynamics, tools, players and solutions, and includes a practical implementation guide for how small businesses might add analytics as a core-capability to their respective business arsenals.

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Melissa Lin
Celebrity Investors Take Over Silicon Valley

Today, there are many celebrities that have become investors, and many investors that are borderline celebrities. One thing is clear: The division between Hollywood and Silicon Valley has become increasingly blurred. Though in the past it has been common for famous entertainers, musicians, or actors to grow their wealth through real estate, royalties, or restaurants, celebrities today are turning towards tech investments.

This article explores why celebrities are drawn to Silicon Valley, the types of companies they invest in, different models of their involvement, and commentary on how it impacts the tech industry.

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
Pearls of Wisdom - The Best Shareholder Letters Nobody Is Reading

Equity analysts often leave out an important source of wisdom when analyzing companies—the annual shareholder letter. This article intends to elucidate the purpose and traits of good shareholder letters based on an analysis of the 601 companies in the S&P SmallCap 600 Index. The article will also direct readers to some of the best lesser-known shareholder letters to put on their annual reading list.

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Mauro F. Romaldini, ACMA CGMA
How Is the International Money Transfer Market Evolving?

With the global workforce becoming increasingly mobile, international money transfers (“remittances”) have equally grown in prominence, passing the $530 billion a year mark in 2016.

Fees for transfers are at an all-time low, thanks to pressure from bodies such as the UN, which is providing consumers with more value. But how are transfer companies responding to this pressure and what steps are they taking to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack?

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Marty Mooney
Why Every Business Should Build Weekly Cash Flow Forecasts

When most finance professionals hear the term “13 week cash Forecast,” they view it as a burden—one more task to appease an overbearing lender. It doesn’t help that it seems less exciting than analyzing an investment or acquisition. Therefore, people often only prioritize these forecasts in distressed situations, when it is too late to take corrective actions.

However, in this article, Toptal Finance Expert Marty Mooney argues that weekly cash forecasts are crucial for all businesses, irrespective of size, health, or sector. It also provides a simple tutorial for efficiently building such analyses.

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Alex Graham
Fintech and Banks: How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption?

Fintech attention tends to focus on startups and their efforts to unbundle the financial service industry’s suite of services. But how are banks responding to this disruptive threat? Despite their wealth, talent, and rich history of innovation, they have been sluggish to respond to the upstart movement.

This article suggest four ways banks can change their tact and respond better to fintech.

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Francesco Castellano
Commercial Drones Are Revolutionizing Business Operations

When most hear “drone,” they think expensive military aircrafts or small consumer toys. However, the future of drones will actually be shaped by practical commercial applications, due to their ability to drive efficiency and data analytics.

This article defines drones and their total addressable market and highlights how their capabilities can be leveraged in commercial business operations. It also includes investment trends and predictions for the future of the industry.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
Bridgewater's Ray Dalio: Quiet Pioneer of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Fintech

Ray Dalio is an investing legend whose success is most often attributed to investment acumen. This article argues that it was equally due to his foresight as an early but quiet adopter of computational systems, big data techniques, and artificial intelligence that resulted in his outstanding success. Bridgewater was one of the world’s earliest fintech companies.

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Alex Graham
Great Recent Examples of Competitive Strategy Successes

Competitive strategy frameworks are widely known and mainstays of university curricula, despite being almost 40 years old. We often hear the stories of Walmart and Southwest Airlines, but what modern examples are there? In this article we use Michael Porter’s activity positioning framework to show successful applications of competitive strategy from modern digital companies.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
Why More Entrepreneurs are Choosing To Build Search Funds over Startups

Search funds, though once an esoteric asset class and model for entrepreneurship, have seen a substantial rise in popularity in recent years. They can often represent a superior alternative to the venture-backed startup route especially for a select cohort of formally trained entrepreneurs, most of all those who deeply understand their motives, risk appetites, and contextual/financial encumbrances.

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Melissa Lin
Cybersecurity: What Every CEO and CFO Should Know

$7.35 million. That’s the average cost of a data breach is. Sure, cybersecurity isn’t sexy. However, in today’s digital age, it is undeniably critical for large corporations and small startups alike. This is compounded by the fact that hacks are becoming commonplace.

Read on to arm yourself with awareness to these invisible threats, and tangible steps you can take to protect yourself and your company.

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Jeffrey Mazer
Demystifying Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and ICOs

Despite significant advancements, cryptocurrencies remain highly controversial; while some tout it as “the next internet,” others view Bitcoin as “evil.” At their simplest, they are the newest fintech fad; yet at their most complex, they’re a revolutionary technology challenging the political and social underpinnings of society. This article will demystify cryptocurrencies’ appeal, its complex underlying technology, and its value. It will also examine the accounting and regulatory, and privacy issues surrounding the space.

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Puneet Gandhi
Should We Rethink the Use of EBITDA?

EBITDA is one of the most common metrics in finance. However, while intended to provide a “cleaner” picture of operating performance than net income, in reality it often achieves the opposite effect. It is also in many cases a questionable proxy for cash flow, as well as a dubious valuation tool.

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Melissa Lin
Why Investors are Irrational, According to Behavioral Finance

Though traditional economic theory posits that individuals are rational, we all know this to be an oversimplification of the truth. The cyclical investment process is rife with psychological pitfalls. Only by becoming aware of and actively avoiding innate behavioral biases can investors reach impartial decisions. Herein lies the true value of the emerging field of behavioral finance, which sheds light on true financial behavior.

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Melissa Lin
How Artificial Intelligence Is Disrupting Finance

As consumers, we’re familiar with AI: we benefit from cars that parallel park themselves, devices that respond when asked questions, and streaming platforms that suggest shows we may like. However, professionally, the larger question is how industries will harness the power of AI. In finance, AI offers opportunities for operational efficiencies in everything from risk management and trading to insurance underwriting.

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Melissa Lin
Experts’ Corner: Pitch Deck Tips for Fundraising Success

Fundraising, for companies at any stage, is undoubtedly a challenging process. Even for seasoned entrepreneurs and startups already experiencing market traction, a compelling pitch and accompanying pitch deck are still necessary. While there is variance around stylistic delivery of the pitch and aesthetic of the deck itself, you might be relieved to hear that the infamous pitch deck boils down to a formula.

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Melissa Lin
Advanced PowerPoint Presentation Tips & Hacks

Many have a love-hate relationship with Microsoft’s PowerPoint. While super flexible, the tool can also be manual, tedious, and all-consuming, especially for the uninitiated. Authored by a former management consultant and finance expert, this article will help every user—from the beginner to the advanced operator—smooth out some of their points of friction and become an expert-level user of the application.

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Solon Molho
The Greek Debt Crisis Explained

After several months of relative quiet, Greece is back in the spotlight as the latest repayment deadline on its bailout debt comes due in July. We take the opportunity to review the root causes of the crisis, what has been happening since it kicked off, and what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

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Melissa Lin
Is a Cashless Society the New Reality?

A cashless society is approaching, with progress particularly pronounced in certain parts of the world. This piece examines global payment trends, as well as benefits and drawbacks of a cashless economy. It also includes case studies on India and Sweden, two countries already transitioning to a cashless future.

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Rajeev Jeyakumar
The State of Fintech in 2017

The financial services industry is seeing a wave of innovation that is bringing with it new technology, but also a need to attract and develop talent that have the skillset needed to operate in this changing environment. This article delves into some of the most important trends affecting the industry.

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Ellen Su
Power Pivot for Excel Tutorial: Top Use Cases and Examples

With the arrival and growing ubiquity of big data, Excel, as a data-mining and processing tool has been pushed to its limits—reflected in its dated 1,048,576 row hard limit and the application’s processing speed slowing to a crawl. As of 2010, Microsoft released a Power Pivot function that transformed the scope and usefulness of Excel where the extraction, combination, and analysis of large datasets are concerned.

Using live cases, Finance Expert Ellen Su explores in detail how to master Power Pivot and explores its hidden advantages as a big data tool.

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Tayfun Uslu
SaaS Pricing Models - Pricing Strategy Examples and Best Practices

Pricing strategy is one of the most important financial levers that companies have at their disposal to influence the financial success of their business. However, it is not an easy task. This article analyzes SaaS software pricing strategies and finds that several of the operational characteristics of the business model generate some very useful pricing advantages that can help drive financial performance.

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Natallia Chykina
Open Source Software - Investable Business Model or Not?

Open-source software is a catalyst for growth and change in the IT industry, and one can’t overestimate its importance to the sector. In recent years, there has been a surge in venture capital dollars pouring into the sector. In this article, we analyse whether recent valuations make sense, and whether the open-source model lends itself to the returns profile that venture capital investors look for.

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Scott Brown
Hiring a Startup CFO - When to Hire a CFO and Why You Need One

For young companies, the value of a full-time CFO is hotly contested. At the debate’s core, is the trade-off between the sheer expense of an experienced CFO at such an early stage (not cheap), and the value said individual posits to confer where growth, strategy, fundraising, and operations are concerned.

Borrowing elements from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and adapting them for this purpose, Toptal Finance Expert Scott Brown introduces a unique framework for how startups might go about thinking through and making this decision.

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