After mapping out the 127 steps taken in every IPO, the investment bank is using technology to eliminate thousands of hours of tasks long performed by humans and freeing up junior staff for more valuable work. An interface called Deal Link has replaced informal checklists that were once passed down between generations of bankers, and is being used to arrange and track legal and compliance review and fill in forms.
Goldman Sachs has a history of innovating to earn more from IPOs. In the 1940s and ’50s, senior partner Sidney Weinberg elevated relationship banking to a new level, eventually working personally with the Ford family for years to take their carmaker public, running what was then the biggest-ever IPO. That built the bank’s franchise. In 1984, when Eric Dobkin was asked to improve its ninth-place ranking in stock underwriting, he pushed to sell large blocks of new shares to institutional investors. The strategy replaced a longstanding model relying on thousands of regional brokers to peddle stock to retail investors. The modern IPO market was born.