It’s been a while since Jan Sramek worked at Goldman Sachs. Six years ago, the then 24-year-old trading prodigy, exam genius and youngest ever ‘rising star’ left Goldman Sachs, and quit banking altogether to go it alone.
More recently, however, Sramek is between projects. After five years as co-founder and CEO of two start-ups in San Francisco, Sramek briefly joined established tech firm, Stripe, to work on “special projects” as an external consultant. Stripe is an internet payments firm headquartered in San Francisco, which was established in 2010 and has 714 employees. Sramek joined in April, according to his public profile, but has since departed.
For Sramek, it’s a move away from being his own boss for the first time since leaving Goldman Sachs, and maybe a foray into the world of fintech. He initially founder Better AG, an adaptive learning company that counts hedge funds among its clients and was sold to GRC Solutions in 2014. From September 2015 until August last year, he ran Memo Inc – an online tool to share clippings and ideas, or as Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen put it “a software incarnation ‘when ideas have sex’ theory of human progress’”.
During his brief time in banking, Sramek attained long-term notoriety. Financial News named him among its ‘rising stars’ under 40 when he was just 22 and six months into his job at Goldman Sachs.
He has 10 As at A-level, and quit Cambridge University for the London School of Economics because it wasn’t sufficiently challenging. When he was studying at the LSE he still had time to start up three businesses including AlphaParties, hosting events for ‘young professionals’ at top locations in London. He also started now defunct careers site Nicube.
What makes Sramek’s achievements all the more impressive is that he only arrived in the UK when he was 17 to attend York-based private school Bootham School. He came from a village of 1,000 people in the former Czechoslovakia in 2004 to take his A-levels when he was not yet fluent in English, and ended up with top grades and a £100k scholarship to Cambridge.
Not that Sramek has been a wallflower about his success. In 2009, when he was starting out at Goldman, he co-authored a book called Racing Towards Excellence, where he offered tips for academic excellence and financial success. In the book, Sramek advises that success in life comes from investing in ‘four accounts’: emotional health, material wealth, mental health, and physical health.
“Consider the lawyers and bankers who traded their health (or what we would call physical account) for material gains,” wrote Sramek and his co-author. “We have yet to meet a single person who having suffered through a heart attack or other debilitating illness would not have chosen a different strategy.”
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