Under Korngold, Blackstone’s growth unit will do more than fintech

Blackstone Group’s new growth platform, led by noted fintech investor Jon Korngold, will focus on more than just financial services.

The Blackstone unit will invest across all sectors and geographies, Buyouts has learned. Whether the growth division will seek to raise a fund around the strategy is unclear.

Korngold, 44, is known for his investments in financial services, specifically fintech. The Harvard MBA spent three years in Goldman Sachs’s M&A group during the late 1990s before joining General Atlantic in 2001, his LinkedIn said.

Since 2012, Korngold has served as the firm’s head of financial services. He was also an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School’s finance and economics division.

Blackstone said Jan. 14 that Korngold was joining the firm as a senior managing director and head of the growth-equity investing platform.

“I’ve known Jon for over a decade and he’s one of the good guys, and a hell of an investor to boot,” said Steve McLaughlin, head of Financial Technology Partners.

“Everyone loves the guy, which is rare in this business and often the differentiator when these days everyone’s money is green.”

During Korngold’s tenure, GA took part in some of the biggest fintech deals, including Ant Financial’s $14 billion fundraise in June. Other transactions included Argus Media, OptionsHouse (which was sold to E*Trade in 2016 for $725 million) and Avant.

Korngold was lead partner on GA’s recent $300 million investment in InvoiceCloud, sources said. He also is credited with Adyen, a payments processor backed by GA that went public last year and saw its value double during its first day, people said.

Korngold for the past three years ranked No. 1 on Institutional Investor’s “Fintech Finance 40” list. (In 2018, Korngold tied for first with McLaughlin.)

It’s not clear why Korngold left General Atlantic. The New York firm has been dedicated to growth equity since 1980; investments include Slack, Pymetrics, Snap and Uber.

The firm promoted Aaron Goldman and Paul Stamas to co-head its investments in financial services, Reuters reported last week.

The pair succeeded Korngold in the role, the story said. General Atlantic made the change to its financial services team in Q4, a third source said.

General Atlantic, in a statement, said it was excited about the promotions of Goldman and Stamas to lead financial services.

“Both have long tenures at General Atlantic, have collaborated together for years and have led important and successful investments for the firm,” the firm said.

“We look forward to their continued contributions. We appreciate Jon Korngold’s service and wish him well.”

For Blackstone, growth may be a new platform but the firm has always participated in growth investing. The growth division will be Blackstone’s first formalization of a growth team, the WSJ said.

Korngold has experience across several industries, having “sourced and executed” billions of dollars in growth equity in sectors including technology services, enterprise software, healthcare, financial services and consumer, Blackstone said in a release.

Blackstone growth will provide capital to companies that are between early-stage venture and traditional buyouts.

Korngold plans to hire for the growth platform, although it’s unclear how much staff the unit has right now, the first source said.

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