As technology becomes synonymous with innovation, Goldman Sachs is positioning itself on the cutting edge by strengthening ties to the industry. The 146-year-old banking bastion has invested heavily in Silicon Valley’s top risers like Dropbox, Uber, and Pinterest, and competes with start-ups and tech companies to bring talent through its own doors. Goldman employs 9,000-plus engineers—more than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn—who now represent nearly a third of the firm’s staff globally.
“Technology is a core competency of ours,” CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a 2015 podcast that underscores technology’s impact on the finance industry. According to a July 2015 Bloomberg report based on data from CB Insights, Goldman has participated in 132 fund-raising rounds in private technology companies since 2009, with 77 of those deals made in the past 2.5 years alone. For one of the biggest banks in the U.S., the financial returns won’t be hugely significant, but Goldman stands to gain big on insights.
Understanding that organizations must learn to operate in a fast-moving, forward-thinking digital environment, Goldman has demonstrated its ability to embrace and even build its own disruptive technology. It contributed the code base and built a consortium with other leading financial institutions to acquire the Palo Alto start-up Perzo in order to establish Symphony, a super-secure financial communications platform. Goldman is further diversifying its business by expanding beyond its institutional clientele for the first time. In August, the company purchased approximately USD $16 billion worth of deposits from GE Capital Bank, with plans to enter the retail banking space as an online lender of small loans.
Goldman Sachs is investing in the future of industry—while focused on technology, it also touts a forward-thinking view in the clean energy field, having pledged to convert to 100% green energy by 2020. The banking powerhouse is shaping up to prove to the world that it has an eye for both innovation and responsibility.