Much of what we do, and what makes our jobs so interesting, comes down to reading tea leaves. In the sectors we pursue, we work closely with compelling companies and brilliant CEOs who give us a unique insight into how the tides are shifting. To find these companies and founders requires finding those trends in the formative stages.
Debating the sectors (and subsequently meeting founders and their companies) consumes our team meetings and hallway conversations (our lives, really), culminating in the themes we hunt in a given year.
Whether there’s an economic head or tailwind only serves as an input into the equation of where we should spend our time, and we’re as excited this year as we’ve ever been to chase down this list of categories.
Below are some early thoughts (err, tea leaves) on our hypotheses.
Workflow Automation for Overlooked Functions
In a macro environment where the competition for talent is at a peak and budgets are at elevated scrutiny, teams are being forced to do more with less. Combine that with the increased presence and importance of data within the enterprise, and there’s a clear opportunity for AI-powered tools that enable more efficient and more intelligent decision-making.
- Compliance regulation is getting more complex as the growing volume of transactions puts increased pressure on compliance teams – we believe this presents an opportunity. This trend will accelerate and focus on AML/KYC/KYB, privacy, and protecting customers from a growing risk environment— automation to drive efficiency will be at the forefront to reduce the need to hire
- Efficiencies in the CFO suite. Neglected for decades, the CFO suite has many areas of investment opportunity ahead - from FP&A to Tax, and Treasury to Risk, automating manual flows and enabling CFOs to operate more strategically
- Empowering development with AI-supported testing environments, code generation on the backend and front-end opps offering dynamic UX
- Data administration / reducing the load on database administrators and democratizing use to nontraditional users to make the entire organization truly data-driven
Future of Work
Investors tackling this: Mike, Saaya
As organizations become increasingly multijurisdictional with the rise of hybrid, distributed, and remote work, the tapestry of complexities to navigate increases dramatically. We are interested in empowering the modern enterprise to better deal with the challenges of global employees, revenues, and cash flows
- Multi-jurisdiction tax and compliance governance, specifically the solutions that automate the mundane, professional-services-driven tasks of tracking, and managing the tapestry of corporate and employment regulations across the growing footprint of company nexus.
- Managing full-time employees and external resources globally to ensure the resources available to them are on par with fully in-person environments, including benefits, workspace, communication, remote support infrastructure, etc. Essentially, work-from-anywhere infrastructure.
Reimagined Wealth Management
Investors tackling this: Yelena, Mike
Modern wealth advisory was born out of brokerage, and with the self-empowerment the past decade brought to investment management, the space is facing intensifying pressure. As independent advisors respond by adapting traditional advisory arrangements, a new generation is simultaneously inheriting wealth with an appetite for a holistic offering that manages finances and not just investments. Investment management’s close cousin, financial planning, could be the key to the sector’s future. We’re also interested in solutions to broaden the scope of advisors’ capabilities generally.
- Consumer-based tools that can broaden access to financial planning or empower the consumer to manage their own plans with human support, focusing not only on investment but the broader financial picture
- Advice-forward models that cater to high earners with limited liquid investment assets and solutions that enable advisors to manage and monetize their support of client alternative assets custodied across a variety of platforms
- Financial planning software for the investment advisor to complement AUM-based offerings with holistic planning and client engagement tools
Debt and Delinquency
Investors tackling this: Sach, Tarun
Through the pandemic, consumer spending has maintained buoyancy with the help of stimulus and, more recently, debt - a material and now threatening amount of it. Rising delinquency and defaults feel inevitable, and consumers will need improved tools to better manage their financial lives. This responsibility to mitigate debt and delinquency will rest on three parties: the consumer, the lender/financial institution, and the collections agency. We believe earlier detection, making debt part of the financial conversation, and better tooling will be needed.
- Intelligent solutions for advanced detection to mitigate and prevent consumer delinquencies for financial services companies
- Digital-first debt resolution and improved customer-friendly collections
- Embedded solutions that make debt/delinquency part of the financial forefront versus an afterthought
- Debtor empowerment through better financial literacy, awareness, and supplemental payment options
Investors tackling this: Tarun, Robb, Pete
In today’s economic reality, where access to capital is becoming more challenging than ever, fintechs enabling businesses to more easily manage risk, manage working capital and accelerate payment timelines are positioned for significant uptake. We are interested in vertically specific solutions looking to embed financial products in legacy and underserved markets that haven’t been meaningfully touched by technology.
- Customizing & optimizing B2B payments and back-end processes within legacy industries that thwarted a decade of fintech advancement.
- Embedded lending solutions for businesses in underserved markets (e.g., schools / municipality)
- Solutions that streamline global money movement, specifically opportunities that narrow the gap between speed, cost, security, and experience between domestic and cross-border payments
- AI-driven payment orchestration, automation will overcome the last decade that accelerated the number of forms of payment while also reducing the administrative burden & cost to manage
- Microinsurance offerings embedded at point-of-sale, augmenting consumer experience through complementary peace of mind offerings or replacement products
As always, if you’re building in one of these areas or want to share ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The team is rolling up our proverbial sleeves to dig deep into these topics, and we want to hear from you.