Tom Glocer was born and raised in New York City. After studying law, he moved up the corporate ladder to reach the highest levels as CEO for the largest multinational corporations before founding several businesses of his own.
Glocer recently appeared on the DealMakers Show to walk us through his career, businesses, and journey into entrepreneurship.
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Tom Glocer was born in New York City. The cultural melting pot in the Northeast of the USA. His parents were immigrants who were taken in after WWII.
They were great business people traveling all over the world from Madrid to Buenos Aires.
A large chunk of his life was spent in Brazil and Europe as his parents were among the first people to catch on to globalism.
After years studying at Columbia and New Haven, he took on a law degree at Yale.
The choice of a law degree was not obvious at that point. He was a great student and wanted to take a double major in both computer science and law.
While studying for his law degree, he stuck on the gamification aspects of legal education.
After obtaining his law degree, he started writing contracts before joining the mergers and acquisitions law firm Davis Polk.
There he was involved in helping to create various agreements such as stock purchase agreements, merger agreements, and asset purchase agreements.
As well as helping to turn private companies into public ones.
After his experience in M&A, Reuters came knocking. They were offering him a deal that he was unsure where he would end up compared to joining a bank.
Reuters is the prominent news conglomerate operating internationally. He spent a total of 19 years at Reuters.
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After years at the company, he was given the privilege of being at the very helm of Reuters, as the CEO.
At 40 years old, this was Tom’s first experience running a public company. He says that what got him through was the care that he had for the company.
He entered the company in one of the most perilous times, where there was big competition from Bloomberg.
Within just six months of him being at the helm, Reuter’s losses fell from their highest ever, to just one 16th of that.
Mr. Glocer had to learn to make the hard decisions on the fly to save the company from the downward trajectory it had taken.
There was massive restructuring and layoffs which he began from the top.
First removing his closest companions for the interest of Reuters.
Companies at the periphery of Reuter’s vision were sold, and the proceeds were reinvested in the information journalism section of the company.
One thing that has stood out in Tom Glocer’s life, whether as a businessman or top executive at a company, was investment.
While he was new at Reuters, he proposed to the board to buy Yahoo. They could not approve the spending but offered 1M, which gave Reuters 2.5% of Yahoo.
Spotting opportunities was one of the greatest gifts Tom had acquired through his illustrious career.
Around 2008 he observed that while Reuters was a media company, only 5% of the revenue came from media.
While the rest was from financial services. He knew that diversification was the best way for Reuters to stay afloat in case of an economic turmoil similar to the 2001 and 2002 storm he had to weather.
The best way to achieve diversification was through strategic partnerships, and Thompson seemed to be the best partner as he had his hands in strategic businesses that Reuters needed.
While it was wild to think that Reuter could ever be sold, Tom was instrumental at convincing everyone, and soon, a deal was struck with a merger creating Thompson Reuters.
Thompson was two-thirds while Reuter was a third of the merger. The whole deal was estimated at $17B.
During this period, Tom was involved in angel investing in some of the greatest firms of our time, such as LendingClub, TransferWise, and Coinbase.
Like his leadership strategy at Thompson Reuters, there was a method to the investment with nothing handled haphazardly.
In his words, his investment decisions are not just about betting on the right horse, but ensuring you are betting on the right horse in the right racecourse with a good jockey.
He has used his experience to develop a wide set of questions to help make the right investment decisions. Most of his investments are in financial technology and marketplaces.
Most of the investment is handled by Communitas Capital, which was founded by Doug Atkin and Duncan Niederauer.
The cofounders were successful, with one becoming the New York Stock Exchange CEO, while the other ran the Instinet Equities Trading Platform.
The team has created a comprehensive set of objective questions which he says consistently help them make the best investment decisions.
As we have discussed above, Tom founded Capitolis and, later on, BlueVoyant. Capitolis is a fintech helping deposit-taking organizations to optimize their balance sheets.
While BlueVoyant is a cyber defense solution that keeps companies safe. BlueVoyant raised $300M in two funding rounds, and Capitolis has raised $100M.
On top of managing his companies, he also sits on boards of public and private companies in several international jurisdictions.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Tom Glocer was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
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Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- How to transition from and grow on the corporate ladder
- How to take a firm through tough times
- Investment strategies
- How to navigate different laws when operating multinational companies
- Tom’s advice to those starting out