Goldman doubles technology investment, says Dees

(Bloomberg) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc., co-head of investment banking, Dan Dees, said the company’s dealmakers are looking for opportunities in all areas of technology as companies emerge from the pandemic era.

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Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, quantum computing and synthetic biology are among the investment areas, Dees said in an interview with Emily Chang of Bloomberg Television that will air Wednesday. He also pointed to “overlaps” between technology and traditional industries such as finance, real estate and healthcare.

“We’re now doubling everything in terms of technology,” Dees said. “It’s such an exciting time.”

Startups are growing faster than ever and demanding the attention of investment bankers earlier in their existence, he said. Some young companies become “important companies for us and for our franchise” within two or three years of their inception.

“We realized that these companies started small and got big very, very quickly — and we had to move earlier and earlier in their lifecycles to build relationships,” Dees said. Goldman is “trying to treat technology the way economics treats technology, namely that it is ubiquitous in all our groups and infiltrates every group.”

Fintech has the potential to disrupt traditional finance, and New York-based Goldman is looking for ways for automation to handle “the minor stuff” and let bankers focus on “the meaningful stuff.” To build relationships, advise clients and structure deals, the bank relies on its staff, he said.

Investment banking is “human hard work and we need more and more people to do it given the current pace of business,” Dees said.

Direct Listings

Dees said it’s “wonderful” that some companies are turning to non-traditional methods of accessing public markets. Direct listings and special-purpose acquisitions are part of a “broad suite” of tools Goldman can offer to clients, as well as a conventional IPO, which he said is still the most popular way.

“More companies are still choosing the traditional path of the traditional IPO,” Dees said. “I don’t believe the traditional path has been broken.”

With more and more pandemic restrictions being lifted, Dees said he is looking for investment banking activities to stay strong. He expects an accelerated pace of business formation and companies looking for deals to make larger or non-core businesses disappear.

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