In September, we announced that we’d hired Tony Poulson as our first Chief Revenue Officer to lead our marketing, sales and client success teams. A true fintech heavyweight, Tony has extensive experience in the private equity software and data space, and has been responsible for scaling some of the biggest names in the industry. We sat down with Tony to learn more about his role, his vision for Lantern and why he can’t stay away from the start-up scene!
What is your role in the Lantern team?
It’s a pretty wide-ranging position, as I’m responsible for building and executing the revenue strategy of the company and preparing our processes for rapid scaling. That’s everything from our go-to-market strategy to developing our operations and working closely with product teams to ensure we can take advantage of the tremendous growth opportunities at Lantern.
What was your background before joining Lantern, and how did that help shape your experience/perspective for your current role?
I’ve been working in fintech for over 30 years – of which 20+ years have been spent in the alternative investment software space. I was part of the original management team that brought eFront to market (the software provider eventually sold to BlackRock in a $1.3 billion deal in 2019 – still the biggest exit the industry has seen!). Then, at AltaReturn (now Allvue Systems), I led the company’s expansion in EMEA. Before joining Lantern, I ran Broadridge’s nascent private equity blockchain business.
Growing and scaling software companies from inception has become part of my DNA. In fact, I have spent most of my career with early-stage start-up firms, so some may call it a serial addiction! Thanks to this experience, I’ve been able to finetune my focus on product and technology, which, when blended with (Lantern CEO) Edward’s service expertise, will be vital in driving the company’s expansion efforts.
Looking to 2024, what do you envisage as the biggest challenge in private capital? And the biggest opportunity?
One thing that has really shifted in the landscape in recent years is the amount of regulation. We’ve led the way to some extent here in Europe, but the U.S. SEC has been shaking things up of late, with the most sweeping reforms for US private markets since Dodd-Frank was passed in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. This heightened scrutiny and push for transparency will greatly impact how alternative investment data is handled and used.
Another big trend we’re seeing play out is private capital extending its reach beyond the traditional investor base of institutions, foundations and family offices towards the individual investor. This amplifies the data management challenge. For firms like Lantern, there is a huge opportunity to help GPs provide the data they are now legally required to and unlock data-driven insights to remain competitive.
Looking slightly further ahead, data will be pivotal in shaping the industry for the better. The industry is entering a new golden age, where the convergence of data and AI will enhance insights and support better decision-making for the benefit of both investors and investees.
What do you enjoy about working at Lantern?
Lantern attracts a certain type of professional – smart, enthusiastic, eager to learn and ready to challenge the status quo. Private capital as a group of asset classes are overdue some disruption – most firms are using far more Excel in the background than they’d care to admit. So it is exciting to work at Lantern, where we have a young, vibrant, and seriously talented team of innovators who are really looking to change the world of alternative investments.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Thinking about problems and solutions is usually easier when I’m away from the desk. I love running because it gives me that space to clear my mind and allows me to think about disparate issues from afar. I also love spending time with my family. I used to work for an investment bank where I was lucky if I saw my kids for more than a couple of hours a week. I’m really happy that the days of presenteeism are gone and that post-Covid, life-work balance is something that people are genuinely looking to achieve. I want to work hard but equally want to spend time with my family. Spending time with your children is a fleeting period you never get back!
Finally, what’s on your Christmas list for Lantern?
We’ve been incredibly busy working on new platform features and products. Without giving too much away, near-casting is in development – which will enable GPs to create near term scenarios to flex their portfolios to meet desired outcomes, and we’re close to exposing a range of AI tools embedded in the platform, too, which will launch in the new year. It has been an exciting year for us and our clients at Lantern, but we’re confident that 2024 has even more in store!