Meet the Founders Behind Heini Salonen & Matthew Jones

May 28, 2024

Welcome back to insights. This month we introduce you to our founders, Heini Salonen and Matthew Jones. The interview provides insights into their backgrounds and motivations behind starting Covering how they identified a gap in the market for a user-friendly purpose built solution for M&A, and their vision to transform technology and data usage in private finance. Dive into the full interview for more!

Q: Background and reasons for quitting your day job?

A: Heini Salonen

My background is in finance - I worked in various investment roles at BlackRock and Goldman Sachs in New York and London. Having worked in large corporations for a number of years, I felt inspired to start something on my own. The main appeal was the possibility to create something big from scratch, maximise the impact of my actions, and be in control of my time.

The key to actually taking the leap was to find a big enough problem to solve, as well as the right co-founder who had the complementary skills and shared a similar vision and goals.

A: Matthew Jones

I too spent my past career in finance, though I came from a particle physics background, so my roles were more focused on quant finance - very maths and programming heavy. While I enjoyed the content of the old roles (you can still occasionally catch me reading textbooks on stochastic calculus) I’ve always loved building things from the ground up, and have an irrational hatred of being told what to do, so starting a business was always on the cards.

Meeting Heini at BlackRock was the catalyst needed and having spent many long hours discussing business ideas, it suddenly became apparent we should just get going at it.

Q: What was the idea behind starting

A: Heini Salonen

We started to make enterprise level processes and data usage more efficient. We had observed that oftentimes either no software or very generic software is used to solve very complex and domain specific problems. That leads to very inconsistent and bad results, and confidence in technology is lost. Private finance is a prime example of that, where huge potential for automation and enhanced data analytics lies. It is blindly obvious that the industry can benefit from technological advancements - the challenge is to figure out how to break into an industry with such a historically low adoption rate and scepticism towards technology. Good thing we like a challenge.  

A: Matthew Jones

It has always surprised me how disparate the adoption of technology is between public and private finance. One side engaged in wars to shave nanoseconds off computation and network times and employing armies of scientists to model each aspect of a portfolio; the other still using the same tech stack as 30 years ago. While there are many fundamental reasons for this difference, it is inevitable that as technology advances, becomes more user friendly and more powerful, this gap will close and we bring the skills and background to innovate.

Q:  How can we see the company's problem space evolving over the coming years?

A: Heini Salonen

The adoption of new technology in private finance has been very slow in the past decades. Excel and people’s brains are still the most common databases used in the industry. There is, however, a generational shift going on where people in their 30s who have grown with technology from a young age are stepping up into leadership roles, and very tech savvy analysts are entering the workforce. The young and hungry technology enabled staff are starting to look for tools beyond excel to automate the ridiculously manual tasks and extract better insights from their data. This opens up an opportunity for intelligent purpose-built workflow and data intelligence tools. I predict a seismic shift in the ways of working in private finance over the next 3-5 years. 

A: Matthew Jones

We are at the incredibly early stages of bringing technology to private finance, and the starting point is always data. That’s our focus now - helping people build the necessary usable datasets of all the scattered data generated from an M&A deal. As the datasets grow (both in volume and coverage), and its power is unlocked, the sky really is the limit on what can be done. Things that seem impossible to imagine today will be de rigueur in 5 years time.

Q: What are you most excited about with right now?

A: Heini Salonen

I’m excited about rapid growth and evolving our product with our customers. We are working on new intelligent features pushing the product to a whole new level, and making it essential for an ever expanding number of companies in the private finance space.

A: Matthew Jones

Solving problems for customers. As we dive deeper into customer’s workflows, solving each problem at a time, we are always discovering new, complex problems, often ones that people can’t imagine can even be solved. As we build up our capabilities and fine tune the product’s features, we are making the best tool for the job. If this process isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is!

Interviewer: Eljas Pajamies, cover photo by Kym Mackinnon

let´s talk