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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Commercial Drones Are Revolutionizing Business Operations

by Francesco Castellano

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.

15 minute readContinue Reading
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Bridgewater's Ray Dalio: Quiet Pioneer of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Fintech

by Orinola Gbadebo-Smith

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.

15 minute readContinue Reading
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Great Recent Examples of Competitive Strategy Successes

by Alex Graham, CFA

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.

12 minute readContinue Reading
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Why More Entrepreneurs are Choosing To Build Search Funds over Startups

by Orinola Gbadebo-Smith

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.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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Cybersecurity: What Every CEO and CFO Should Know

by Melissa Lin

$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.

16 minute readContinue Reading
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TAM Methodology: An Explanation and Example of Total Addressable Market Analysis

by Alex Graham, CFA

Total Addressable Market (TAM) sizing exercises have become very popular for assessing the potential of a business. TAM is, however, often miscalculated and misinterpreted. In this article, we will look at how to calculate it and its derivative subset waypoints of SAM and SOM. A working example will also be demonstrated for WeWork.

17 minute readContinue Reading
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Demystifying Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and ICOs

by Jeffrey Mazer

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.

22 minute readContinue Reading
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Should We Rethink the Use of EBITDA?

by Puneet Gandhi

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.

21 minute readContinue Reading

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