Top Tech Groups - SF

What are everyone's thoughts on the top tech groups? I'm a freshman and trying to learn more about the landscape of the industry in the Bay Area. The info on the forum seems a little out of date but based on the research I have done already it appears that GS, MS, Q, and EVR are the top groups in terms of deal flow, culture, and exits. How would firms like Citi, BofA, CS, LAZ, PWP, JEF, RBC measure up? Would appreciate any further insights! Thanks!

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Comments (91)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 26, 2021 - 4:27pm

Citi tech? I'm sorry I can't remember the last time I saw them on an important S-1 or worked across from them in an M&A

also, SPAC quality as of late is absolute shit. Shell cos on the brink of returning capital that will merge with any shit company to avoid it

In tech its

GS/MS/Q (Q being better at M&A but obviously no equity)

JPM

the rest

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 8:01pm

Personally I would put it on the same tier as CS/BofA (minus points on dealflow compared to the first two, but bonus points on in-house modeling/culture)

May 24, 2020 - 4:08pm

My friends tell me RBC and Citi are lifestyle banks.

Throw STRH and all tech boutiques besides the elites and Qatalyst in the same bucket (USA, GCA, FTP (i'm sorry but I'm not on duty at the time of this posting), Code, Merrimac, Intrepid, Catapult, Singrando and Terratorn Advisors)

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  • 1
May 25, 2020 - 3:53am

I mean that it's a chill bank in terms of lifetsyle. Tgat's what I've heard at least....

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May 25, 2020 - 4:36pm

To rephrase, Citi and RBC are lifetstyle banks in that you aren not realy doing IB work as in deals. They get barely anyd eal flow and are working hard to get deals but rarely succeed. Citi is definitely more of a sweatshop than RBC though

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May 25, 2020 - 4:55pm

Lol I bet FTP could even beat Citi and RBC SF in pitches...

FTP works really hard ot get their deals done, reaching out to thousands of investors for every deal to make sure the txn goes through. They for sure work harder than any banker in Citi SF or RBC SF at lesat in terms of the deal work they do.

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May 25, 2020 - 4:58pm

Is this merely a "bet", or is this reality?

I still see that Citi SF and RBC SF perform well, albeit they are not the strongest tech groups in SF.

On another note, wouldn't work be slightly less since there is less dealflow at these firms?

May 25, 2020 - 5:00pm

Lol just a bet. FTP and Citi / RBC don't compete for the same deals to my knowledge. I have never heard of a txn where FTP was up against any BB besides Barclays.

If you aren't getting any deals, you have to pitch a lot to get the deals. Pitching for companies can take many hours. Imagine putting 100-page decks together in one week with a whole IB team. The number of turns and edits everyone will have is exhausting, baby

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  • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 26, 2020 - 2:45am

After a simple LinkedIn search, it appears Citi has been bleeding MDs to more dynamic groups in the Bay (EVR has a ton of them). Was even told in an interview last year that Citi was in a rebuilding phase by one of the associates (huge red flag for me).

May 26, 2020 - 2:46am

Further proof that Citi sucks in SF...

It's still fine to go there and then lateral out after a year...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 26, 2020 - 3:10am

Hmmmm... Don't really understand the hate that Citi SF is getting.

Sure, it's not the best tech group in SF, but it sounds like some people would take a burger flipper position at McDonalds over Citi lol.

Does anyone have any objective facts about this group?

May 26, 2020 - 3:48am

That's a tough one. Citi has way better name brand and total coolness over FTP. The only problem is that FTP will put you on 4-5 deals as soon as you join and one of them will by the luck of IB gods, close in a year, allowing you to lateral to a better bank.

Citi SF will keep you as busy as deals will but you'll be working on pitches and will have nothing to show for it by the end of the two years. At least with FTP, you can lateral after a year to a different bank (BB / EB). Lateraling is easier because you would have deals to talk about rather than at Citi where they would make you go back one year since you have no deal experience whatsoever.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
May 26, 2020 - 3:51am

Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for that!

Also was wondering, is it true that Citi has ZERO deal experience? Also, wouldn't you technically only need to have one or two deals as that is all will be asked in Buyside interviews?

Is it necessary to have 4-5, like you said, right from the start?

May 26, 2020 - 2:26pm

I don't know enough about Citi to be able to tell you exact deal flows.

There are very few banks that will put you on more than 1-2 deals at once. You will be on those deals for the next 3-6 months and they are supposed to close by then. The banks that give people more than 2-3 deals know that those deals aren't that busy and will not close anytime soon. If one of them does get close to closing, then they will de-staff you from the other garbage deals for you to focus on succeeding on that one.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020 - 4:10pm

Evercore is not in the same bucket as GS, MS, and Q. Those 3 tend to win pretty much all the major mandates

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020 - 10:24pm

Agreed considering how long GS/MS/Q have been dominating the tech landscape as well as their client relationships.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 4:25pm

JPM has been crushing it for the last couple years tho. Wonder if JPM would ever reach the top in the near future.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 4:51pm

Think recently JPM has been on par or possibly even better in terms of dealflow than MS Menlo. Still not the same in terms of exits and selectivity/prestige but maybe slowly moving in that direction if they keep improving.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020 - 6:32pm

The issue with JPM SF is that the coverage team does almost no modelling/execution so they struggle to exit into PE. They do really well with other tech roles though.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 8:53pm

How is this much different from MS Menlo where there is a separate m&a and coverage group? Assume most of the execution is done through the m&a group there also? Could be wrong but just curious what the main difference is that makes MS Menlo so much better at the coverage level for juniors.

Aug 3, 2020 - 1:10am

I've heard of coverage groups being less modelling intensive but no modelling/execution? What type of work do they typically do at JPM SF then?

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 7:33pm

FTP is a specialist (fintech), and DBO is a generalist, so those two are quite different themselves. But both well-respected around here. I'd give slight edge to DBO. Surprised LionTree hasn't been mentioned in this thread though. Another fantastic boutique in SF.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 9:32pm

I have a few friends who interned at liontree and dbo partners. Both firms make you work hard but phenomenal people and experiences. Very solid shops.

May 25, 2020 - 2:14am

LT is on a whole other level. They do a fantastic job and are relaly not even a boutique like USA or Code or FTP.

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  • 1
May 25, 2020 - 2:13am

Are you inviting me to post here or something? FTP does well only in FinTech and has been on $bn deals. Bankers here work hardcore to prove to copmanies they take on that they did not make the wrong decision to hire a boutique...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 9:55pm

Highest emphasis on exits and considers dealflow:
GS/Q/MS
JP/EVR/LAZ
CS/BofA/CVP/MoCo
Citi/PWP/Barclays/JEF
DB/UBS/GH/Gugg/RBC

All are great places and keep in mind that this ranking is really not that indicative of the overall quality of the group. PWP SF for example doesn't do that many deals but you'll still get better looks there for PE than at DB which actually has decent deal flow.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 10:25pm

do you think you will get good looks to exit to top growth and VC shops from the second tier of banks from your grouping? Or are those mostly for GS/MS/Q

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 24, 2020 - 10:37pm

Yes, I actually know a few EVR analysts that have exited to VC in the past few classes. Lazard has placed recent analysts at great growth funds (CVC). Can't speak to JPM, but I know that EVR and LAZ are going to give you great opps to growth and VC if you're interested.

May 25, 2020 - 3:36am

I heard UBS isn't that bad since they pretty much do work for sponsors in the software space.

Array

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 25, 2020 - 1:57pm

I've heard UBS and DB compete better in tech than overall. Are you sure they're bottom tier on their own or should they be in the second-to-last tier with the others?

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 25, 2020 - 4:18pm

Whrre would you put Liontree, FTP, and DBO on this list?

May 25, 2020 - 4:37pm

Kindly exclude FTP as they are too niche. If the thread was top fintech groups -sf, then FTP would be #1 hands and legs down

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 2
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 26, 2020 - 5:24am

Won't play the ranking game but LionTree and DBO Partners are very well-regarded in SF. Strong deal flow, EB-type comp, open door policy, and smart people. Not too familiar with FT Partners since my group doesn't really compete with them.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 26, 2020 - 2:36am

What do some of the most prestigious / competitive exits include for these groups? Based on this thread, would it be safe to say that most MF PE exits are taken by GS, MS, and Q analysts? Where do these other firms place in terms of GE, VC, and PE? Is PE even that popular or do most top analysts prefer VC?

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 26, 2020 - 5:50pm

Tech PE guy in the Bay here. My perspective is based on who we see and like to see when our associate hiring cycle comes around, which I am guessing is what you guys care about. Not necessarily talking about deal flow.

GS/MS/Q are "top", sure, but with caveats. Everyone sort of hates working with GS, they get mandated on a ton of sell sides so we have to play nice with them for deal flow. We'd obviously take their analysts because they get good experience. We don't see a lot of Q guys during recruiting surprisingly. A lot of people stay there (its a good gig) and a lot go to Sand Hill Road if they do leave. It's a smaller shop too.

Evercore/JPM/Moelis (yep) are pretty much in line in my book for hiring purposes. Anyone saying Evercore isn't as good for placing on here is dead wrong. We love working with them and love scooping up their analysts. (Also, look at the first major "tech"-ish post-COVID deal with Silverlake/Apollo/Expedia. Who was advising on that? Evercore/GS on the sponsors and JPM/Moelis for Expedia.)

Other bulges, etc. after that. All are pretty good and would merit a look.

FTP murders it in fintech so not sure why they are getting flack. They are a major part of the deal flow in that sector but only that sector (dont cover anything else) so their guys place well in fintech in the Bay (think like an FTV type place)

Some other boutiques like DBO/Vaquero were seeing good deal flow in the LMM/MM before COVID, but we don't really hire out of them because their deals weren't our spec so we don't have real relationships.

EDIT: Forgot PJT. don't see a ton of their stuff out here, but have had great experiences working with them and would for sure interview their analysts

EDIT EDIT: Confused how this is so controversial. Because I said we like to hire Evercore and that FTP is really strong in their core competency? Will refrain from future perspective...I only speak from the lens of someone above the associate role at one PE shop in the Bay. Other shops could have different views on who they like to hire from. (Just go to their websites to see.)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 26, 2020 - 7:40pm

Why is ft partners such a contentious topic on this forum? Seems like people are always trying to find a way to shit on them or suck them off. No in between

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 26, 2020 - 7:43pm

My best guess is its just the difference between covering fintech and not covering fintech. If you don't cover fintech they are a no name firm. If you do cover it, they are a very important name. Analysts get interviews from PE shops covering fintech.

And to be clear...I don't necessary "like" them as someone has accused me of being an FTP troll. Lol. They barely existed when I was an analyst. They can be slippery. Same as GS and to an extent all bankers, you have to play nice in the sandbox if you want to see their deal flow.

Done commenting because I am triggering Gen Z now.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 26, 2020 - 8:05pm

Thanks so much for the detailed write-up, it is really helpful to see things from the other side.

That's an interesting point on Q, it seems that analysts are more prone to going VC or staying at the firm (which admittedly is a bit difficult to draw conclusions from considering just how small the classes are). Would you say this is a function of their analysts choosing to not go into traditional PE, or do firms such as yours not consider their analysts when/if they do recruit?

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
May 26, 2020 - 8:07pm

Appreciate the insight you've provided. How do you view strong MM players in this space (Jefferies, WB, etc.)? Do you ever interview candidates from these shops?

May 27, 2020 - 6:10pm

FTP has clients for years and has a backlog of deals that they are constantly trying to execute. That is why they churn out deals so much

What do you mean they place well in FinTech in the Bay? Which shops have they gone to recentyl that makes you think thtat/?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020 - 3:44am

From a quick Linkedin search: Accel, CVC Growth, Parthenon, Vista, TCV, Spectrum, B Capital, Carrick

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020 - 9:05am

Why are you people giving this guy monkey shit?

Even if you don't agree with him he's a certified pro and knows way more about the topic than you do.

Why discourage him from giving his opinions in the future? Way better than hearing prospects and interns argue about shit they know nothing about.

May 28, 2020 - 3:06pm

Thanks for standing up for me,!

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 28, 2020 - 7:17pm

lmao its cause it doesn't perfectly aligned with the bs opinions that spread here by college students and those who have never worked a single day.

May 28, 2020 - 7:50pm

Please continue to comment. Your expertise is valued here. Otherwise, this will truly be an intern site.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 29, 2020 - 12:20am

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Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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