Toptal Finance Blog

The Toptal Finance Blog is a hub for in-depth studies and analysis on all facets of finance, ranging from innovative strategies on raising capital to detailed coverage of new finance trends and technologies.

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How to Build and Utilize a High-Impact Advisory Board

by Patrick E. Donohue

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.

16 minute readContinue Reading
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Principles of Organizational Design and Optimization: Lessons From The Great Recession

by Chris Hearing

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.

13 minute readContinue Reading
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ICOs, Exotics and Platforms - An Insider’s Perspective on the Future of Venture Capital

by Alex Graham, CFA

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.

17 minute readContinue Reading
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Will Spotify's Non-IPO Pave the Way for Tech Companies?

by Melissa Lin

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.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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Price Elasticity 2.0: From Theory to The Real World

by Orinola Gbadebo-Smith

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.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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Are Art Investments a Worthwhile Asset Class?

by Zachary Elfman

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.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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Investing in Cryptocurrencies: The Ultimate Guide

by Raphael Rottgen, CFA FRM

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.

18 minute readContinue Reading
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The Looming Crisis in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

by Jack Barker

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.

14 minute readContinue Reading

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