I came across Dan Kimerling while chasing down the latest investment insights from Cathie Wood, whose ARK investment funds have been among the most sought-after, best-performing funds for the past few years. Dedicated explicitly to the most disruptive companies in the most disruptive sectors of the economy, Wood’s ARK funds are an interesting place to look when trying to learn about those companies that could become the next Amazon, or the next Tesla.
One of the people ARK’s analysts have turned for insight into disruption in the fintech industry specifically is Dan Kimerling, co-founder and Managing Partner of Deciens Capital. As Kimerling explained in an interview from last fall, he realized early in his career that there were “incredible” venture capital funds involved in fintech and “incredible” venture capitalists involved in seed funding, but “there’s nothing at that intersection of fintech early stage capital.”
He added, “… and where there is capital, it rarely will lead financings. A lot of them will be follow-on financings or if they are angels or smaller managers, they are not in a position to lead rounds.” He said that if Deciens stood for one thing, it’s leading seed rounds in fintech companies in the United States.
What has Kimerling’s attention as we move into 2021? As someone who saw back in 2012 that open APIs were the future of banking, Kimerling now underscores three factors that will drive fintech evolution in the coming years. These include what he calls “the scope of the prize” – fintech’s massive opportunity as 20% of GDP – as well as the rise of embedded finance which will enable more companies to participate and compete in financial services, driving competition and innovation.
Perhaps most interesting is the one factor Kimerling called “the most exciting”: the development of a cultural “context where smart ambitious professionals, especially early career professionals, feel like working on innovative businesses is a socially acceptable career trajectory.”
Check out his conversation with ARK Invest’s Max Friedrich and George Whitridge (currently of Graham Capital Management) from October 2020.
Launched in 2012, Deciens Capital supports early-stage companies in a wide range of fintech areas including payments, lending, insurance, regtech, and financial wellness. Among the firm’s portfolio companies are Chipper Cash – which raised more than $44 million in funding last year – Funding University, and Finovate alum True Link Financial.