He feels at home tackling some of the toughest challenges that the most innovative technology companies may confront daily.
Whether it relates to negotiating multibillion-dollar commercial transactions, debt or equity financings, complex M&A or strategic partnerships, building legal teams, tackling intellectual property or privacy issues, or helping with sticky and complex business or legal issues, Douglas Luftman says he’s up for the challenge in his role as vice president, general counsel and secretary at the Silicon Valley fintech Nomis Solutions.
Luftman has worked in Silicon Valley for over two decades, serving as a member of the senior legal team at notable public conglomerates such as Palm, NetApp, Intel, and CBS, as well as other public midsize and private startup companies. He is comfortable teaming with his peer executives, whether the task at hand is a corporate strategy or just rolling up his sleeves for day-to-day matters.
“I’m truly honored to be part of Nomis’ dynamic executive team, which pushes the envelope in delivering an innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to many of the world’s largest banks and other financial services institutions,” he tells Vanguard.
Nomis serves its customers through its data analytics platform that crunches big data while enabling pricing managers at some of the world’s top banks to make the data-driven decisions necessary to better serve their own customers.
All told, through its platform, Nomis eases the process for over 10,000 bankers worldwide to price and manage in excess of $2 trillion in assets and liabilities annually, resulting in such institutions enjoying an increase of over $300 million annually to their bottom line. It’s a service that founder Dr. Robert Phillips was shrewd enough to have identified in 2002 and one the current executive team has expanded upon.
The Nomis Platform
- Nomis’ evolving platform stands on three fundamental pillars: Nomis Price Optimizer (NPO), said to be the most-used pricing solution in retail banking, its secret sauce being an optimization and forecasting modeling engine that enables banks to fashion top-notch, closed-loop analytics customized for both lending and deposits.
- Nomis Price Manager (NPM), designed to ease the way to customer-level pricing by serving as a single source of truth from which retail banks can make more informed pricing decisions.
- Nomis Deal Manager (NDM), delivers customer intelligence to front-line bankers and enables banks to connect back-office pricing decisions with customer offers.
With innovation in the fintech sector remaining fast-paced, Luftman needs to anticipate where the company’s platform is heading and what challenges the company may confront. Nomis may not be a regulated entity per se, but its clients most certainly are, and Luftman works with the management team to ensure that the platform incorporates what is needed to continually align with its customers’ global regulatory realities and to ensure that the company can continue to scale efficiently without hitting any roadblocks.
“In addition to my depth of experience working in Silicon Valley, I also leverage my engineering background so that I can dig into the business and technology to provide more contextual and nuanced legal advice and solutions,” he says. “We want to avoid surprises that might slow down our product development and revenue streams as we continue to expand and enter into new geographies and markets. The fewer left turns Nomis overall has to make either from a business or technical perspective, the better off Nomis is in delivering the best products as quickly as possible to our customers.”
That may be especially true on the privacy front, where rules are being continually refined throughout the world, and with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation serving as a worldwide template for other jurisdictions.
“We look to the EU as the current high-water mark for compliance,” Luftman observes. “As additional privacy protections, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, are proposed and implemented in other locales, I think we’re doing a great job in continuing to adapt to this ever-changing regulatory landscape.”
Luftman does share a sentiment widespread among his peers in the tech industry that the absence of a U.S. national standard for data privacy has each state writing its own laws, increasing the complexity and cost of compliance for companies.
It may well happen that the federal government will ultimately create overarching legislation that streamlines such compliance, but until it does, Luftman will continue to ensure Nomis’ products and operations are structured to adapt to the current regulatory landscape.
“A general counsel should always try to anticipate what headwinds may impact the progress of its company’s products, services, and corresponding revenue, and propose simple and proactive approaches to address such dynamics before they become problematic,” he says.
A general counsel also has to be a true business partner, and that’s one of Luftman’s approaches that he’s quite proud of.
“Partnering with my peers on the executive team from a business perspective and working collaboratively with them to advance the business with an eye toward how legal can serve as a complementary business tool—it’s all so rewarding,” he says. “It’s energizing to find that practical and efficient path for a company to achieve its business goals and be successful, while also aligning its legal needs and obligations.”
When asked how being the first general counsel for Nomis Solutions has been helped by his outside counsel, Luftman says his responsibilities have been eased considerably by having inherited Miller & Martin, a Southeastern law firm with a global reputation, as one of his critical law firms. Miller & Martin has served as Nomis’ commercial and contractual go-to firm for a number of years. Luftman also relies upon the breadth and depth of Gunderson Dettmer for its corporate and financing needs, due to its long-standing and close relationship with Nomis and its expertise in this area. Rutan & Tucker is one of Nomis’ latest additions to its legal team and provides Nomis with additional invaluable transactional and financing expertise.
“It’s been great to have practical law firms that intimately know our business. It’s been a pleasure to partner with each of our firms to ensure that we can efficiently collaborate and quickly and effectively close on critical, time-sensitive, and complex matters,” Luftman says. “I was fortunate to have them as a resource when I came on board—they have been instrumental in ensuring that I was able to get up to speed so quickly and have been able to deliver timely, efficient, and practical legal services.”
A George Washington University Law School grad who started his career at Fenwick & West LLP, another well-known Silicon Valley law firm, Luftman came to Nomis Solutions after various senior in-house roles that included three general counselships.
Luftman describes his career in Silicon Valley as an exciting and rewarding journey as he reminiscences about working with luminaries in nearly every facet of the tech industry including notable innovators in the semiconductor, consumer electronics, information technology, cloud services, big data, and analytics ecosystems. He’s also tackled everything from working with startups to serving as a legal executive at a Fortune 500 conglomerate.
“Being able to think like a lawyer, engineer and a tech executive has a lot of advantages in this business,” he understates with a soft laugh. “I’ve always looked at the role of being an in-house attorney, especially a general counsel, as a role of partnering with the rest of the business—providing quick, practical, and business-focused legal advice while ensuring it aligns with the company’s corporate business objectives.”
“That’s what’s been so energizing about working in such a fast-paced and dynamic environment—one’s role is to help build something that may never have been done before and while doing so, you never know what the next day will bring in the way of exciting new challenges.”
This article was originally featured on vanguardlawmag.com.