Invested

We spend a lot of time looking at startups that are trying to disrupt the financial services landscape for end-users. These businesses are sexy and headline-grabbing ...everyone loves an underdog. But there is another class of financial technology startups that are just as important: financial infrastructure. Communication networks, order routing systems, trade execution, clearing, account filing…
Here at ValueStream Labs, we've spent a lot of time thinking about crowdfunding and online lending businesses, which have been making headlines for the past two years. Though revenue crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have garnered much of this publicity, we're more interested in the equity investment platforms like AngelList and Funders Club and lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper…
In the past few years, we have seen an explosion of venture capital investment into Financial Services (if you want to see data around dollar inflow into the sector, check out this report from CB Insights). Although there has always been investment into Financial Services at some level, the types of companies receiving funding has changed. Payment technology has always received a relatively…
I've been reading many blog articles of late about the increasing use of analytics in early stage venture investing. I've heard the phrase "moneyball for VC" thrown around quite a bit by people who favor real data and analysis over guts and instincts in evaluating (or at least identifying) a potential investment. Though I've always believed in the use of data in investing, I have to ask - when you…
In my last post, I described how services businesses are being eroded by "Service-as-a-Software" Internet platforms. It's fairly obvious that Internet platforms will continue to infiltrate the high cost, knowledge-based Professional Services industries such as consulting, banking, investing, and law. A key factor in the disruption of Professional Services businesses is that many of these…
Rapid prototyping, low development costs, and sticky network effects are all characteristics that attract investors to internet startups in any industry. At VSL, we focus on web-enabled startups in Financial Services for all of these reasons, but we are most interested in the network effects. Financial Services as a whole is a collection of some of the oldest networks known to exist; the entire…
At ValueStream, we have a unique view of Venture Capital. While others focus on the opportunity for rapid wealth generation or the disruption of multi-billion dollar industries, we are fascinated by how the market itself functions. In particular, we're excited by the emergence of what we term the "private capital market" - a fast-growing private alternative to the traditional public market…

The new definition of FinTech

The most common question we get asked here at ValueStream Labs is: "What is FinTech?" The answer seems obvious at first: technology that relates to conducting financial services activities, with the end client/user being a financial institution. But after many, many meetings, I've realized that the currently held definition of FinTech is not only stale, but also unrepresentative of the opportunity…
There has been a lot of talk recently about the impact AngelList's new Syndicates feature will have on the Venture Capital industry. I've heard a wide variety of opinions, ranging from absolutely no effect to a complete disruption of the VC industry as we know it. Interestingly, most of the debate is taking place from the point of view of the investor. My question is: how do founders feel about…
While out in sunny San Francisco this week, I had interesting discussion with a colleague who has recently left the venture world to take a seat at the entrepreneurs' table. Much of our conversation centered on the emergence of capital marketplaces and the topic of venture fund vs. venture platform. After discussing the recent progress of some venture platforms like SeedInvest and AngelList…