Welcome to the next instalment of our Meet the Team series, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the people working at Landytech to create a better and more data-driven future for investment management.
We sat down with Laurent Louvrier, our new VP Product, to learn about his career in fintech, from MSCI to founding an AI startup. We also discussed his passion for entrepreneurship, and his deep knowledge of alpine cheese.
What did you do before you joined Landytech?
I've always worked in the fintech space. I started as an engineer working in a trading room for banks. Then, I went on to business and product management roles.
I then spent eight years at MSCI, as Head of Product looking after the analytics products in EMEA, where I worked on Landytech’s product integration with RiskMetrics.
More recently, I was a founder myself. I set up my own startup in the AI space from scratch. From building the product, defining and executing the go-to-market strategy, all the way to being acquired earlier this year.
So a long journey in the fintech space in general.
Tell us about the highlights of your career
I've been through highs and lows, just like everyone. Of course, highlights mean success but also failures. I've tried to build on failures as much as I’ve tried to build on success.
I've been very pleased with my entrepreneurial journey. For me, it's very satisfying to start something from scratch. Have an idea, yield a prototype, something that no one expects you to build. You then take this idea and this very preliminary piece of work all the way to something that you know clients will pay for, that you can build a company around, that you can invest in. You can convince people that your general idea was the right one.
It's a kind of personal satisfaction. Many entrepreneurs will tell you the same thing. The whole idea of starting something from scratch, where most people you talk to try and convince you it's a bad idea, that it’s the wrong thing to do. That first time you see someone pay for it and actually use what you've built, solving a real problem. It's very satisfying.
Why did you want to join Landytech?
There's a couple of factors. Firstly, I knew the founders and the team through my role at MSCI. But I also liked the trajectory of the company from a personal standpoint.
I've worked in very small companies at the zero to one employee level, to large establishments. In large companies you can have an impact, but at the end of the day, you can do your best, you can contribute, but the company existed before you and it will exist after you leave.
What I have yet to do is contribute to the trajectory. The journey. Where you have a company that is already successful, has a strong client base and a good product, and then scaled up. At Landytech, we're trying to make Sesame a category defining product and a global leader. I haven't done that yet and I'm really motivated by that.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve worked at very large companies, and I think I’ve realised that what I really like to do is build. There needs to be a tangible element of building, doing and improving things that have an impact. If it's too theoretical, too high level, yes, it can be interesting but at some point, for me, there needs to be an element of creating and building.
That's why I think we have some of the most successful entrepreneurs today still involved with day-to-day operations. Of course, they hand over a lot of the running the company to other folks, but they still stay close to the core of their business. It's fundamental if you want to be successful. You need to be a craftsman at some point and you need to love building.
How do you approach leading your team?
I thought long and hard about this. It's a fundamental question. If I had to sum it up in two points, the first one would be that you need to be a manager. In the sense that you need to create an environment where your team feel comfortable in themselves, in giving their all and giving their opinion. Having the confidence to challenge what you suggest and with what other team members suggest without any concern or fear that they will be judged or criticised. You need a safe harbour environment. It's fundamental. You need to be yourself. You need to be able to express your opinion
The second element, which is sometimes missing that you should really pay attention to, is the ability to lead. Leading means defining what the objectives are and where you want to go. What is the path, what is the North Star that needs to guide you? If you’re unable to define this then it's a problem. You can have a very effective team of people working very well together but if there's no sense of direction then you’ll go on in circles.
You need a combination of those two aspects to be an effective leader.
What's something you wish you knew earlier in your working life?
Patience. I think I made the common mistake of being too impatient. You need to understand that things take time. It takes time to absorb. Culture takes time and it takes time to be good at a particular craft. It takes time to gain experience and sometimes as much as you can be smart and understand things quickly, you cannot rush. You need to be aware of this. I’ve definitely made the mistake of being too impatient, so I try to teach myself patience.
What excites you most about the future for Landytech?
I'm really keen on growing the company because it's an underserved market. There is a huge commercial opportunity, a great team and great product. When you have this combination, there's a lot you can achieve. It's quite hard to get the combination of these three. Sometimes you have 1 or 2, but it’s rare to have three.
Tell us a fun fact about you – anything!
Originally I'm from France and I come from a region in the alps, near the Swiss border. I grew up in the mountains and there are two things that characterise the region: outdoor activities and cheese.
The region is very famous for its production of traditional cheese, so I'm a big cheese lover. You know when you are at university, and you need a summer job to make money, so you do something a bit random? One of the random jobs I did was to work in a cheese factory.
My job was taking care of the maturing cheeses. You need to mature them for 6, 12 or 24 months. I took care of them for weeks, physically turning them around and making sure that they were ageing properly. I've spent entire days smelling and tasting cheese.
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