Team Profile: Minas Shirozian

Minas entered the workforce as a consultant in the life sciences industry in the dot-com era. New technologies were taking shape and life sciences companies were looking for solutions. He describes this opportunity as “the best thing that ever happened to him” aside from the joys and fulfillment of growing a startup.  

In this Exchangelodge team profile, we spotlight Minas’ career path, innovative approach to software development at Exchangelodge and more. 

Q1: Describe your career path and how you arrived at Exchangelodge. 

It was the rise of the internet age and there was a lot of innovation happening in technology. I began my career at a life sciences consultancy where I learned to become a really good consultant – how to ask tough questions, listen to customers, articulate challenges and recommend solutions. I put my skills to use and honed by craft by consulting with some of the largest pharmaceutical and financial companies like Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and GMAC to name a few. 

Following this, I started my own consulting practice and was hired by Pharmametrics. I never really thought of working for a small company, but about 10 years ago, I ended up joining Pharmametrics full-time. In this role, I ran the IT department and operated as the head of software and CTO. I was able to experience first-hand the joys of working at a startup, the challenges, and the fulfillment of playing a direct part in the company’s success. Pharmametrics was purchased by a VC firm. When looking for my next step, Pharmametrics’ owner introduced me to the founder of Steelbridge Labs who told me about Exchangelodge. 

Immediately upon hearing the Exchangelodge vision – connecting disparate systems and empowering operations teams in this small private markets niche – it really spoke to me and I wanted to get involved. For about two years, I consulted here while completing another engagement before assuming a full-time role of Head of Software Development. 

Q2: What is unique about the Exchangelodge approach to software development? 

What drew me to Exchangelodge is the modern look and feel of the platform. We’re using really cool, leading-edge tools and technologies to accomplish our goals. These include Kubernetes-based microservices, Neo4J graph databases, a flexible Drools-based business rules engine, a modern JavaScript framework, and more. All of these technologies allow us to handle complex business rules and custom workflows with ease for clients. Our backend is fully implemented using asynchronous processes so we can scale quickly to demand and leverage our angular based dynamic forms framework to keep the front-end light and responsive. Additionally, we’ve implemented web sockets to enable real-time communication between the two. This team is experienced and knowledgeable in both technology and private markets, and we’re always looking to innovate and try new technologies to solve problems for our clients.  

Unlike some of the larger companies I have consulted for in my previous career, we can fail fast and be nimble in our approach. We don’t have any extra baggage or red tape. This allows us to try new technologies to solve client problems, partner with other companies in this space, and ultimately deliver a stronger and more scalable solution for our clients. Now that’s not to say we are cowboys and make changes to code willy-nilly; we follow a strict agile based development methodology with all the trimmings. 

Finally, we’re a platform-first solution. While we are focusing on innovating in the private markets today, the same tools and framework can be applied to other industries in the future. We’re building the workflow processes and manipulating the data as needed. Right now, we’re creating turnkey solutions for the private markets so GPs, LP, Fund of Funds and Service Providers can implement best practices for operations at their organizations. Our end goal is to make it simple for complex private markets firms to operate with DIY solutions. We want to disrupt the industry to the point where it’s no longer normal for you not to do it this way.

Q3: How do you foster learning and self-improvement in your team? 

The people who work at Exchangelodge are passionate about new technologies. We often host sessions where team members can provide demos of new technologies they’ve uncovered and highlight potential applications of those new technologies to solve the problems our clients are facing today and anticipate solutions to future problems and industry challenges. We like to educate each other and workshop how we can implement new technologies and tools. Always seeking to raise the bar for our clients, the industry, and ourselves. 

Q4: What’s next for Exchangelodge? 

We think that the expanded use of technology within the private markets will become the norm. Firms will no longer be implementing manual processes to manage their data and run their operations. All of the data gathering, aggregation, validation and connectivity to other systems will be automated. The work that is currently taking firms hours to complete will be done in seconds. The goal here is to empower teams to become more efficient and give clients and the industry the ability to focus on higher-level thinking and do what they do best. 

We’re already partnering with other technologies who are aligned in this vision like Canoe Intelligence and iLevel. Together, we’ve already made great strides in enhancing workflow capabilities for clients. Additionally, we’re currently working on a full refresh of the Exchangelodge platform, always thinking about UX before development and keeping an eye on that DIY future.

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