Three years ago we posted a list of talent scouts. Quick update:

  • Standardised tests: ConnectCubed, the WSAT, and the BAT are all discontinued.
  • Trading simulators: AlphaSeal and MarkitAcademy are defunct.
  • Holistic screening: TransparenCV is defunct, UndiscoveredPM is inactive.

Among all of the talent scouts we listed, only two are still active – and both are struggling. Marketocracy has relegated talent assessment to a secondary website. Battlefin now seems to be first and foremost an events company.

This may be a good time to finally say what we think makes Upgrade Capital different.

Most of the above businesses were about creating a very specific way to screen talent and then trying to sell it. Having tried the same thing at the outset, we saw that what follows is a very challenging sales process. Revenues fall short of costs, and sooner or later the business either pivots or folds.

What we have done instead is engage in exhaustive research. Talent scouting is much more challenging in finance than in Moneyball, but there is neither a lack of great talent nor of firms eager to find it. The core challenge is to identify very specific strengths each firm and ultimately each hiring manager prizes yet struggles to find. We believe our client roster shows that we have done that.