Invested

Running a restaurant is hard. Very hard. Rising material costs (food and labor), competitive markets, fickle customers, and perishable inventory make for an almost impossible business model. Making matters even more challenging, restaurant operators are mostly flying blind when it comes to data, making decisions on everything from suppliers to menu prices without the data needed to inform and…
Today we’re announcing our participation in a seed financing round into Smile Identity , a mobile-focused identity and KYC solution for Emerging Markets. In much of the western world, we take identity for granted. We are all issued some form of National ID that allows us to be uniquely identified and tracked throughout our lives. Though the anarchists amongst us may not appreciate being tracked…
As any successful lender will tell you, accurate data is key to underwriting—and the more of it you have, the better. But incorporating that data into an underwriting system can be operationally challenging at scale. While bank-sync (sharing personal information by providing bank login info) is gaining ground, the vast majority of underwriting data is still provided through paper documentation…

Beyond the Labs - An update on ValueStream Ventures

To the friends of ValueStream Ventures, It's been over five years since we started this journey together. A lot has changed since 2013. For one, we have dropped “Labs” from our name as our firm has evolved from startup accelerator to venture capital firm. One thing that has not changed is our strategy of targeting FinTech, Enterprise Tech, and DataTech companies that solve substantial problems in…
The key to the future of consumer financial services is data...but not in the way most industry veterans think. Note this article originally appeared in Banking Perspective , published by The Clearing House New technology is allowing companies to capture more data about customers and their transactions than ever before. As an industry, we are starting to put that data to use in smarter products…

Cash Flow is King

If you've ever run a small business (those things that provide 50% of all US jobs), you know that managing your cash flow correctly is critical to building a sustainable business. You manage your payables and receivables, negotiate terms to extend payments, and obsess over making sure your payroll clears every two weeks. Given how important cash flow is to small businesses, it's bewildering that…
One of the things we find most interesting about Financial Services is the sheer number of "niche markets" that exist. However, when compared to other industries, the word niche seems misleading...after all these highly-specialized segments of Financial Services can represent trillions of dollars flowing between parties, billions of dollars in revenues, and unrevealed investment opportunities…
Our job at ValueStream is to dig deep to uncover new products that meaningfully challenge the status quo, but the average user of a new product doesn't have this level of motivation. Early-stage products are rarely as polished or functional as the incumbents they are attempting to supplant, so it's crucial for the differentiation to shine through. Or as I like to say , the value proposition needs…
Professional investors are constantly in search of superior investment opportunities, and this of course requires access to superior information. And although we have seen an explosion of research and data in some areas, there's still a confluence of issues that limit access to information on companies in the emerging markets. The number of funds looking at emerging markets has exploded, from…
We look at a lot of startups that fall into the "social sentiment indicator" space-software products that track mentions on social media and newsfeeds and then use proprietary algorithms to ascertain what the public sentiment is about a stock, whether bullish or bearish. We're still trying to figure this space out. In our experience, professional investors consistently ask for tools to help them…