Faces of Entrepreneurship: Gal Krubiner, Co-founder and CEO, Pagaya

Gal Krubiner is the co-founder and CEO of Pagaya. Pagaya is a company that aims to reshape the asset management space using machine learning and big data analytics. The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center took a moment to catch up with Gal on his journey thus far. 


What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?

GK: To me, “entrepreneurship” means creating something that doesn’t exist and solving problems that no one else has solved before. Even when entrepreneurs are told that something can’t be done, they find a way to make things happen.

How did your company come to be? (describe the a-ha moment that lead to its conception)

GK: The ah-ha moment for Pagaya came out of a long conversation with one of my partners in August 2015. We were discussing how there was a new financial state and that, literally, no one was helping the buy side for institutional clients. We understood at that moment that the way to make this happen was to use technology to create a better way for institutional investors to manage assets.

What is the biggest experience or lesson gained on your journey so far?

GK: A major lesson that I’ve learned throughout my journey as an entrepreneur is that you can’t predict the right answer to a problem the first time around. You have to constantly question yourself and your process and be able to change and adapt at the drop of a hat. Agility and the drive to continually question things are so important in today’s fast-paced world, and I believe both are vital to success.

How is your company changing the landscape?

GK: Pagaya is changing the landscape by showing others in the finance space that using AI is the most viable and efficient way to manage assets. We want to help institutions understand how to utilize our AI technology to strengthen their businesses while proving AI has utility in traditional finance.

What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?

GK: I wish I would have known and more fully understood that there are no right or wrong answers and that being quick and agile would be the things that I needed to focus on to be successful. I learned these things along the way and it would’ve been very impactful if someone had told this to me before.

What advice/credo do you live by as you grow the business / what is your professional and personal mission statement?

GK: I believe that you should always put your client first and at Pagaya we’re doing our best to arm our clients with technology to make smart financial decisions. We feel that the biggest flaw in the financial market is the lack of visibility for people to make smart decisions, so we’re changing that.

What’s it like to work alone or with your partners? What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?

GK: My partners and I are all close friends, which makes it a lot of fun to work together. But aside from that, we also understand that each of us has unique strengths and brings something special to the table. We work really well together and understand that each of us plays an essential role at Pagaya.

Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?

GK: I find inspiration in my partners when faced with a challenge. It’s encouraging to know that we’re all in the same place and we always have each other’s backs. It’s comforting to have a strong support system within a company.  

What does “success” look like for you? What do you think will help you achieve it?

GK: Success to me means growing and making things a common process. Right now we’re doing something that is very unique and we hope that one day it changes the way that everyone else does things.  

In order to achieve success, we work hard and are constantly reminding ourselves to take it one step at a time.

What lesson did 2018 have for you? What do you look forward to in 2019?

GK: In 2018 I learned to never give up. Some days are great and other days are not but it’s important to keep your head up and continue to move forward toward your goal.

In 2019, I’m more focused on the fundamentals and making Pagaya the best company that I can to help as many people as I can make smarter financial decisions.

Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?

GK: I don’t have a strict routine that I follow every day. I usually wake up around 6:00 a.m. and get into the office between 7 – 8 a.m. The one thing that I do regularly is I always make time to hang out with friends and family after work is over. I love spending time with those closest to me and find that it’s the best way to wind down, especially after a long day.  

What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as, as in, what do you want your legacy to be?

GK: I want to be known as someone who was able to create things from scratch and build something that no one else could. 

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