Austen "began his career in 1992 when he joined Phibro, Salomon Brothers' proprietary energy trading subsidiary and one of the world's largest energy traders. During his five years at Phibro, he designed and implemented Phibro's worldwide risk management platform and deal valuation analytics using NeXT's object-oriented development environment. In 1997, Lawrence moved to Salomon Brothers fixed income trading floor, where he designed and implemented innovative multifactor, nonparametric models of interest rate dynamics. In 1998, he accepted a position to head currency and fixed income derivatives trading at Renaissance Capital, which he left to co-found Oilspace.
"Lawrence graduated with First Class Honors in Economics from the University of British Columbia, where he won numerous academic awards, including the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Special MA Scholarship. He then accepted a full scholarship to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business PhD program, where he focused on auction theory, marketing of high technology products and the numerical implementation of quantitative analysis algorithms."