Optimal has developed a patented software solution, that can be utilized by institutions, wealth managers, and advisors to deliver customized institutional-grade investment solutions for all investors.

Founded in 2013, Optimal has expertise in technology and finance focused on designing and delivering Direct Indexing solutions and enabling a more efficient asset management process.

Dr. Vijay Vaidyanathan, CEO

Vijay is CEO and Lead Portfolio Manager for the firm. He has been a prominent speaker and advocate in the smart beta space. Vijay has spent much of the past 5 years applying innovative techniques to develop econometric models for a wide range of financial markets. Vijay holds several patents in the area of digital markets and financial micro-transactions in digital markets. Prior to this, he was President, EDHEC-Risk Indices and Benchmarks, North America, and Research Associate at EDHEC Risk Institute, Nice, France. Earlier, he held several executive positions in technology firms, including CEO of Yaga, Inc, Chief Strategy Officer of NBC Internet, and CTO of Xoom.com.

Vijay received his Ph.D and MSc in Finance (Risk and Asset Management) from EDHEC Business School (France), his MS in Computer Science from SUNY Albany, an MSc (Tech) from BITS (Pilani, India) and is an alumnus of IMD, Switzerland.

Alec Barlow, Sr. Software Developer

Alec discovered his passion for programming and software development while working in clinical research at the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University

Alec is motivated to find ways of leveraging technology to improve people’s ability to do their jobs.

Alec holds a BS in Economics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Jennie Chen, Operations Manager

As the Operations Manager at Optimal, Jennie is responsible for the firm’s daily operations, human resources, accounting, and compliance activities.  After spending more than 15 years supporting executives at various high-tech start-up companies and law firms, Jennie understands that people are one of the most valuable assets an organization can have.  She thrives on challenges, particularly expanding the firm’s reach, and enjoys building bridges between management and employees. 

In her free time, Jennie enjoys reading, listening to music, skiing, basketball, and swimming. 

Omar Shaikh, Client Relationship Manager

After graduating from San Jose State University, Omar joined Wells Fargo, N.A. as a Personal Banker and worked there for 8 years climbing the ranks to become a Licensed Brokerage Associate.  Omar enjoys assisting clients in optimizing their portfolios to maximize their returns so they can reach their financial goals.

Omar holds a B.S. in Finance from SJSU and has passed the: S.I.E., Series 63, and Series 6 exams.  He is also a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon do and a Tae Kwon Do Junior Olympic Gold Medalist. He also enjoys skateboarding.

Helmut Hissen: Technology Consultant and Advisor

Mr. Hissen has been involved in designing some of Silicon Valley’s pioneering ground-breaking products, across a range of technologies including electronic design tools, experimental physics, telecom, online communities, payment solutions and fintech in the decades since he started his career at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Palo Alto, California in the late 1980s. He has contributed to the design of Optimal’s solutions since its founding and is a named co-inventor of Optimal’s first Portfolio Customization Patent. He holds a B. Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In the summer, he is also the organizer of popular STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) themed summer camps in Victoria, BC, for technically curious young children in grades 2 – 5.