// . //  The Alumni Network //  Sarah Lamont

After spending her formative years as a senior consultant in the Financial Services and Private Capital Practices, Sarah Lamont is taking the venture captial world by storm — applying the skills she acquired at Oliver Wyman to her current role at F–Prime Capital where she focuses on early–stage investments in fintech.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been doing since you left Oliver Wyman.

Since leaving the firm, I’ve transitioned to a role at a venture capital firm, F–Prime Capital, based in Boston. The firm has been around for about 50 years and has offices in Boston, San Francisco, and across Europe, India, China, and Japan. My work at F–Prime Capital focuses on early–stage venture funding — anywhere from Seed to Series B. The technology fund, of which I sit on, focuses on a mix of fintech, enterprise tech, and a bit of frontier technology. I spend most of my days sourcing fintech investments, performing due diligence on potential investments, and then once they are in our portfolio, assisting in the portfolio support.

What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you the most?

My current role is a good mix of the two practices that I belonged to when I was at Oliver Wyman.

For the first half of my tenure at Oliver Wyman, I specialized in Financial Services. Most of my projects were with large banks, where I developed foundational skills and gained an understanding of the financial ecosystem and financial technology. I worked extensively on interest rate risk management, liquidity risk management, and transition compliance.

Furthermore, being part of the Private Capital Practice at Oliver Wyman, where most of my clients were private equity firms or large corporates looking to make investments, prepared me well to run due diligence from top to bottom. Learning about what are the key pillars of what makes a robust due diligence process has translated seamlessly into my current role looking at early–stage companies. My current role relies more heavily on a gut–feeling about the team rather than hard and true numbers since I’m working with early–stage startups, but the skills I acquired as part of the Financial Services and Private Capital groups have directly translated into my role.

What’s the biggest industry challenge you’ve faced, or are facing?

There was like a really hot fundraising environment in the last couple of years, booming in 2021. Since there was so much capital to be deployed, there was only a finite set of really interesting companies that people wanted to invest in. It was definitely a founder’s market in that investors were competing to get allocation to the best companies. To add, many startups were being overvalued given the macro environment element to rising interest rates. Because of that, a lot of the fundamentals of investing were somewhat rejiggered in the sense that many firms would start foregoing enough of a robust diligence process so that they could compete on the hottest deals and sign a term sheet within a couple of days or in the worst–case hours of meeting a company.

The fundamentals of doing a really robust diligence process were kind of lost and founders got used to that. However, within the last year and a half, the market has shifted, and investors have returned to those fundamentals around diligence.

It’s challenging in that shifting dynamic for founders to get used to that more robust, conservative–type investment process. It’s a bit of a fall from grace and challenging one to navigate.

What advice do you have for current consultants at Oliver Wyman?

This might sound cliche, but find your people. I found that my favorite projects were spent with my favorite people. Although the hours might be long, the people are always going to outweigh the hours. I found people that I laughed with, enjoyed working with, and just worked well with. Some of the projects that had better hours weren’t necessarily the most engaging, so I think it’s always a matter of optimizing for, number one, the people, and then number two, the subject matter. When you find your tribe that you drive well with, you stick with them. As I grew in my role, being able to identify the managers and principals that I liked working with made it easier to enjoy the work I was doing.

This page was originally published on March 28, 2023