TECHWORK 23: Philippe Laval, Jolt Capital
Laval founded several tech companies, including Sinequa and Evercontact, before joining Jolt Capital as the firm’s CTO. He studied computer and software engineering, and holds a PhD in AI and natural language processing.
As his main achievement, Laval highlights that everyone at the firm is using Ninja, the deal-sourcing platform tool he developed. The software is deeply ingrained into every aspect of Jolt’s operations and has become a trademark for the GP.
Additionally, he now has a fully-fledged tech team behind him, which is integrated and collaborates closely with all other departments of the firm.
Finally, he highlights two outside researchers who have published scientific research papers on the basis of Ninja and contributed to the global state of the art. Equally, the French ministry of finance is using Ninja for part of its affairs.
Laval has two priorities for the future. Ninja is currently for internal use only but Jolt Capital would like to launch it for external use as well. In order to do so, he and his team are building an API for vertical integration that should allow for specific use cases such as enabling portfolio company CEOs to see available M&A opportunities within the software, or co-investment possibilities on display for LPs. Second, the firm currently has accumulated substantial data points on LPs’ investment strategies and would like to make further use of that to inform its fundraising strategy.
Finally, Laval is looking to further grow his team by hiring another data scientist.
Jolt Capital uses its own software tool Ninja as well as Office365, Slack, DealCloud and OneDrive.
In terms of peer interaction, Laval mentions two CTO clubs. One is organised by France Invest and takes place every two months. Additionally, he is part of an informal gathering of CTOs, software engineers turned PE executives to discuss current issues. He also highlights the Slack community ‘DataHunt’, which is pan-European.