Just when we thought the news cycle couldn't become anymore of a thematic self-satire, Steve Cohen says "Not so fast, jerks!"
Billionaire Steve Cohen has opened a Palo Alto office to invest in early-stage companies focused on big data and machine learning, and he has hired two people who invested on behalf of the CIA.
Steve Cohen going to Sand Hill Road is one thing (one ridiculous and funny thing) but Steve Cohen looking to catch up on fellow power bald Marc Andreessen by hiring away guys who traded for the literal CIA is an almost farcical nod towards the dark edge of things.
The two men leading the effort are Daniel Gwak and Sri Chandrasekar, who previously worked at In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm that is mostly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The pair started their new roles on May 1, according to Matthew Granade, Point72's chief market intelligence officer.
And it seems like Gwak and Chandrasekar are getting into Point72 just in time because there are still a few months left to practice with Steve's money before the outside cheddar comes pouring in once the SEC opens the floodgates next year.
Their new group is tech-focused, and could involve a range of companies, such as those looking at natural language processing, automating trucks or cars, or synthesizing news.
Granade declined to put a figure at how much money the venture arm plans to invest, but said he expected the group to invest in 10 to 20 companies a year.
"Steve [Cohen] has a fairly good sized balance sheet," Granade said. "Because we're operating through Steve, we can be very opportunistic when we're seeing things."
This all sounds like there's a new Alpha about to teach alpha to the betas, but where are these Point72ers going to find all these companies?
The Intercept reported last year that In-Q-Tel has been specializing in companies that mine data on Twitter and other social networks. And the Wall Street Journal reported that some of In-Q-Tel's board members have ties to some of the companies the fund has invested in.
Oh, they're gonna fit right in.