Oranj utilizes summer interns to build Redtail integration

The fintech startup is using Chicago universities to find, train and potentially hire top engineering talent

Sep 6, 2018 @ 2:04 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Oranj is taking an innovative approach to finding next-generation engineering talent to work on its growing wealth management software.

The company's team of summer interns successfully developed and launched a new integration with Redtail Technology's client relationship management system that establishes seamless flow of client data between the two technologies.

The integration means advisers already using Redtail can also now use Oranj's front-office tools, which are free for advisers, to onboard clients, open new accounts, and to aggregate data and rebalance.

David Lyon, Oranj CEO, said the integration will minimize errors and redundancies, and cut back on a firm's technology budget.

"Our integration with Redtail can help advisers reduce their practices' software costs by potentially replacing other costly software they're using to run their businesses," Mr. Lyon said in a statement.

As financial services move increasingly digital, large financial institutions and fintech startups alike are struggling to attract top technology talent. The best coders don't always dream of designing tech for advisers. Plus, many fintech startups are strapped for resources.

(More: Advisers can use online info to learn more about prospects — but should they?)

Some companies have taken to offshoring development teams. Oranj tried this, but its leaders decided instead to keep development close to home, using an internship program to find, train and potentially hire local talent.

Oranj chief technology officer Perry Moutzouros said the internship goal was to build a dedicated team of young software engineers and give them the full experience of developing and releasing a product. The Chicago-based company connected with graduate programs at University of Illinois, Depaul, Illinois Institute of Technology, and others.

Working with mentors from the firm's full-time engineering team (including one employee who started as an intern last summer), Oranj gave the intern team a portion of the road map to complete.

"Instead of crunching bugs or supplementing capacity issues, you build and create your one product and learn how to deliver software in real time," Mr. Moutzouros said. "The Redtail project was perfect. It exposes students to what its actually like to work within an API-driven software environment."

He also credited Redtail with handing over an API that was intuitive and easy to build an integration with.

Redtail previously integrated with dozens of companies, but the firm's director of sales David Mehlhorn said this was Redtail's first time working with an internship program. He said it was a "really cool thing" and a great idea for companies needing help achieving their product road map.

(More:Technology aiding firms in adopting financial planning offerings)

Mr. Mehlhorn added that utilizing recent college graduates, who are eager to learn and make their mark on the professional world, can help advisory firms and fintech companies foster an environment that appeals to next-generation talent.

"They just want to be pushed and challenged and to do things that they haven't learned before, or don't get in school," Mr. Mehlhorn said. "Use their knowledge and creativity. They're less concerned about the company's name as much as the work they are doing and the challenges they are going to see."

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