Morgan Stanley is hosting a huge talent competition for tech startups

  • It’s an invitation-only event in Palo Alto with around 80 Wall Streeters and 85 tech startups hoping to win their business.
  • They will have back-to-back meetings with 10 to 12 specialists in a row, and one or two startups selected from each group.

Morgan Stanley is hosting its own version of a talent contest — the 17th CTO Innovation Summit — in Silicon Valley this week. It’s the biggest yet, with around 65 existing vendors, and 85 startups invited to attend.

The startups are nominated by venture capitalists, and compete in one of Morgan Stanley eight innovation areas, which range from virtual reality to machine learning, cybersecurity to quantum computing. The aim: to find companies to partner with that can help Morgan Stanley meet its own tech objectives.

The Wall Street bank stresses collaboration throughout, said Shawn Melamed, who leads Morgan Stanley’s strategic technology partnerships.

“There is no one technology or trend that’s going to disrupt the industry, it’s the combination and collaboration of a host of technologies and services,” he said.

As part of this partnership model, the bank recognises a single firm each year with a CTO Innovation Award. This year, the bank handed the award to Zscaler, a cloud-based information security provider that helps protect the mobile and wireless needs of Morgan Stanley’s financial advisers.

Previous winners of the award include Cloudera, which is now a key part of the firm’s new wealth management digital platform.

“Our first meetings at the CTO Summit were truly transformational for our business,” Tom Reilly, CEO of Cloudera, said.

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