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Fueling the Fire: How Venture Capital Empowers Fintech Today

A September survey of European venture capital firms published by the European Investment Fund suggests that many of the same themes – such as artificial intelligence and machine learning – that have animated venture capitalists in recent years continue to dominate investment preferences. The queried firms also said that exit environment and fundraising “remain the biggest challenges for (the) VC business” – although “high investee company valuations” and “competition from other investors” were becoming concerns.

How does this square with venture capitalists on the American side of the Atlantic? According to Datatrek, the value of fintech deals in the first half of this year was up year-over-year by 60% in the U.S., even as the number of transactions remained constant. For these analysts, this is a sign of maturation in the U.S. market, writing “as we get further into the economic expansion, VCs may be more comfortable contributing capital towards established fintech companies rather than riskier, newer startups.”

Next week at FinovateFall, we’ll have the opportunity to put all of this analysis to the test. One of the afternoon highlights of our Discussion Day on Wednesday, September 25th, our FinovateFall Venture Capital Panel, will provide attendees with the latest insights from venture capitalists who are investigating new opportunities in fintech every day.

What are investors looking for, and what impact is venture capital having on the fintech industry? What does the future look like, and what does that mean as we embark on an unprecedented period of change in our industry? Join us next week as our panel of experts addresses these questions and helps us understand where and why the smart money in the market is headed.

Chairing our VC Panel is Reza Chowdhury, founder and CEO of AlleyWatch

Recognized as a global thought leader in the startup ecosystem, Chowdhury offers more than 15 years experience in emerging technology, which he brings to AlleyWatch as CEO and Founder. Through the course of his career, Chowdhury has had the privilege of working to drive businesses from conception to eventual exit. His latest professional endeavors have allowed him to work very closely with thriving global technology and startup ecosystems.

Now meet the members of our VC panel

Jennifer Lee, Vice President, Edison Partners –  Lee is a Vice President at Edison Partners focusing on the firm’s fintech investments, most recently including MoneyLion, Bento for Business and Giant Oak. Prior to joining Edison, she was a financial analyst at Commerzbank evaluating select European equities and long/short investments for hedge fund clients. Before Commerzbank, she was an associate at the Associated Press overseeing VC investment prospects and strategic business development opportunities.

Luis Valdich, Managing Director and Venture Investing Lead, Citi Ventures – Valdich joined Citi Ventures in 2015 as a Managing Director and Venture Invest Lead in its NYC office. He is responsible for fintech investing in both the U.S. and Europe. Valdich embraces Citi Ventures’ “best of both worlds” corporate venturing model of combining value-added strategic investing with venture capital best practices by investing in high-potential startups and driving engagement with Citi executives and clients. His investments include Clarity Money (acquired by Goldman Sachs), HighRadius, PPRO, ScaleFactor, Contguard, and SmartAsset.

Mori Oshima, Senior Manager, NTT Finance – Oshima has been a venture capitalist for 16 years. His strategy is to discuss with prominent VCs in the U.S. by leveraging NTT’s market presence in Japan. His successful exits include DocuSign and Quantenna Communications. Currently, Oshima is focusing on fintech startups in the U.S. that are interested in the Japanese market. He has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business) and is a CFA Charter holder.

Maria Gotsch, President and CEO, Partnership Fund for New York City – Gotsch is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership Fund for New York City, which is the investment arm of the Partnership for New York City. The Fund, which has invested over $150 million, has built a network of top experts from the investment and corporate communities who help identify and support New York City’s most promising entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and non-for profit sectors.

Matt Beecher, CEO, Vault and VC Innovator – Beecher is CEO of Vault, a leading student loan benefits platform, equipping employers to make it achievable for employees to more quickly eliminate student loans and attain financial freedom. He is also the co-founder of Redstar Ventures, where he was President and Managing Director from 2010 to 2016. Redstar is a company that creates companies, taking them from the earliest stages of ideation and growing them through their first institutional funding rounds and beyond.