A Well-Balanced Team
A few weeks ago, I spoke on a panel at the Empire Startups Fintech Conference, where I was joined by peers from F-Prime Capital, Rothenberg Ventures, CFSI and Crowd Capital Venture Fund. It was a great opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded people focused on driving positive change in the industry, and it gave me a chance to meet an awesome group of entrepreneurs.
We touched on a number of topics during our discussion, including the importance of fintech operating experience on a venture capital team. We considered whether it was important to have been part of a fintech startup to be able to engage effectively with these companies as a strategic investor. At its core, fintech is about bringing two seemingly distinct industries – financial services and technology – together to spur improvements and innovation for customers and businesses. With this in mind, it only seems fitting that VC teams approach these startups with a diverse range of experience and insights to maximize their chances of success.
I believe fintech startups and banks can glean tremendous value from one another. Banks have decades of experience supporting the financial needs of customers. This is particularly true when it comes to navigating the regulatory environment, managing security concerns, and understanding the complexities of credit. Banks also have capital, the ability to lend, and an established customer base. For their part, startups enable our team to learn fast, and inspire us to innovate and test at a pace we couldn’t achieve on our own. Like any partnership, mutual learning and success requires a shared vision, careful planning and mission alignment to realize all of the potential benefits.
At Growth Ventures, financial proficiency is a core part of our value proposition, but we also recognize the benefits of having fresh, ‘outside’ perspectives on everything from user experience to product design and technology. We have a unique team with experience that straddles both sides of this world – we have been entrepreneurs in the startup trenches but we also have banking expertise and access to creative colleagues from all across Capital One. This diversity of experience is an important aspect of who we are and it’s something we continue to build as we grow our team.
Ultimately, a successful partnership means both sides – the startup and the investor – recognize and embrace that the benefits go both ways. As long as we are open to learning and exploring together, we can make a difference.
In the brief highlight video below, you can hear more from our discussion at the Empire Startups Fintech Conference. I’m looking forward to more conversations like this!