It’s fintech week here in New York City, interjection to collaborations
between Empire Startups and FinXTech, and we sat down with
someone who has her finger on the beat of the industry.
Amy Nauiokas is the cofounder and boss of Anthemis Group, a
digital financial-services investment and advisory firm. Since
the company’s first in 2010, it has invested in 42 firms,
including the likes of Betterment, Trov, and Qover. It also hosts the annual
Hacking Finance Retreat in the French Alps.
Nauiokas has a prolonged résumé. Before first Anthemis, she worked
for the British-based bank Barclays, portion as the CEO of
Barclays Stockbrokers. She got her start at the organisation as the head
of Barclays Capital’s e-commerce division.
Business Insider recently met up with Nauiokas at Anthemis’
Manhattan bureau to speak about what’s going on in fintech, the
forms of financial-technology companies she likes to deposit in,
and career advice.
This speak has been edited for clarity and length.
Frank Chaparro: What are some of the pivotal things
you are seeing in fintech?
Amy Nauiokas: There’s mostly a clarity of urgency
about all we are doing as investors and as
financial-services professionals. But the reality is that we are
at the very commencement of a very prolonged game. And so one has to
always take a bit of batch to really try to figure out, “What’s
the purpose here?,” “Where are the genuine long-term
opportunities?,” and “How do we work the way to them?”
we do consider we are seeing substantially a some-more receptive understanding
of how these firms are labelled and what we should be profitable for
certain deals. There’s a poignant volume of understanding flow, a lot
more. Year on year, we are up substantial on the series of
financial-services record deals, but the income that is being
deployed is flourishing at a slower pace. And we have a couple
theories for since this is happening.
Generally speaking, we are at the tail finish of a duration of
exuberance, during which big firms just arrange of piled on a bunch
of, let’s say, happy money. Firms were thinking, we have money,
we have capital, we have to spend it.
Many of the incomparable financial institutions that bumped up
early-stage investments in financial-technology companies in 2015
and 2016 have now satisfied that those are not the best
investments for them, since it gathering value up where value
didn’t exist. And they have also satisfied they don’t have the
ability sets and imagination to be early-stage investors. Writing
those big checks creates sense, but not until later. So you’re
seeing a lot of those vast financial investors changeable from
series A to personification that series B game.
Chaparro: And has that been assisting your firm?
Nauiokas: It helps us out. But it also helps the
Chaparro: What’s sparkling you right now? What
will figure or browbeat the rest of the year?
Nauiokas: It isn’t super sexy, but we continue
to be vehement about a certain volume of converging in the
industry. That’s something you’re going to see, for sure, in the
second half of 2017.
We are also vehement about companies that demeanour and feel like
non-fintech firms. We call them “adjacency companies.” When you
get under the hood of these companies, however, you can
conclude that what they are doing is deeply financially
So possibly it’s a company that has built an infrastructure for
the financing of the solar-energy space or a company that has to
do with the charge of water — but its tangible outcome is that
they make a large hole in the insurance of your home or
skill — these forms of companies have applications in finance.
In other words, underpinning their record is something that
can be used by firms and consumers in financial services.
And this really is a good sign that financial services as a
difficulty isn’t really something you can put a box around.
Chaparro: You have pronounced you don’t like to use
the word “fintech” when describing what your organisation does and that
you’re not a fan of the term. Why is that?
Nauiokas: We don’t consider it
describes who we are and what we do. We fell into it since we
felt it was too formidable to convince people there’s some other
way to speak about it that didn’t engage a mouthful. My partner
Sean tried something along the lines of “the coming
transformational age of digitization of financial market
services.” That’s not fun, either, so we stuck with “fintech.”
Chaparro: What don’t you like about “fintech”
Nauiokas: It’s the suggestion
that there is this new form of tech within the market. But what
we are actually trying to do is digitally renovate the entire
market. And if we do the pursuit properly, the judgment of fintech
won’t exist, since the whole zone will be digitized. It will
all be fintech.
Chaparro: Recently, Andy Stewart, a managing
partner at Motive Partners, pronounced that valuations for fintechs are
frothy. Do you agree? Are companies just slapping on buzzwords
such as AI and appurtenance comprehension to strike up their valuations
to unworthy levels?
Nauiokas: Our viewpoint has always
been to drive transparent of fintech word bingo. Just since it has
one of the cold difference trustworthy to it doesn’t meant that it is
going to be the next billion-dollar opportunity.
This is substantially the zone in which we see the many of that word
bingo. And we consider it’s since there are a lot of players.
And from the perspective, when we are looking to deposit in a
company, we demeanour for a series of things. First and foremost, we
demeanour at the people. Second, we demeanour at the market. Third, we look
at the product.
In the early stage, you may not have the product right. And that
is OK. We inspire that arrange of operative around the sum and a
little bit of failure.
Chaparro: What creates the people aspect so
important? Why isn’t something like cost some-more important?
Nauiokas: We can be aggressive
at the right time with the right stakes when it comes to price.
But we consider for us, it starts and ends with people. And generally
speaking, venture investors will contend that. Right? That people are
very important. It is all about the people. But at Anthemis, it
is over “all about the people.” Because it’s almost exclusively
about the people. We’ve been handling this way for a while.
Yes, a company needs a good market. That’s one way we can cut
by the confusion very early on. By slicing firms with no
market, we get absolved of the fluff. Once we are in that scope, it is
all about anticipating the entrepreneurs who we trust in.
Entrepreneurs who have the wherewithal, the enthusiasm, the
passion, the expertise, and the network to take those early-stage
ideas down the trail of success. And it’s not always obvious, just
since someone has years of experience, or illusory people in
their eco-system, or they have illusory capital. It is the
multiple of all of those things, with the right attitude. And
for us opinion is crucial.
Chaparro: What else do you demeanour for in company
Nauiokas: We have a bent to
like cofounders. We’ve schooled from knowledge that two heads are
typically better than one. And that’s since the person who is
good at presenting the big picture of the company, fundraising,
and building a vital future is not always the same person who
is uber-focused on the sum and the build of the company. So
cofounders are actually utterly good since they element each
We are propitious to have a smashing group of experts who know how to
demeanour at the numbers and ask the right questions about them. But
again, this form of work shouldn’t be quite statistics-driven.
There was a study, for instance, on how can you relate success
in startup founders in fintech. What do the many successful
fintech founders demeanour like is what they were radically trying
to figure out. And strangely they came out with a statistic that
suggested it was a 38-year-old white male. There was a
association between success in a fintech and having a 38-year-old
white male as your founder. Well, what’s the information you put in to
get that? You put in all the companies that exist. So if many of
the companies that exist have 38-year-old white men as their
founder, then of march they are also going to relate as the
ones that are the many successful. So stats can only go so far.
Chaparro: Let’s concentration on that. Last tumble you
outlined the reason since the financial-services space could
‘become inept by sluggishness and face existential crisis’ if it
continues to be run by white men in their 50s and 60s. Why is
farrago critical in the early stages of a financial-technology
People try to make a lot of excuses for a miss of farrago early
on, but they’re all very idle excuses.
Nauiokas: You must have
farrago in the early stage. And people try to make a lot of
excuses for a miss of farrago early on, but they’re all very
idle excuses. The reality is the only place a company’s culture
is going to start and finish is at the commencement of that company.
And it always starts with the founders.
So if you can’t create an sourroundings of founders and founding
employees who are going to represent the company you want, then
you are never going to get there. So you have to demeanour at your own
network and find what you are missing. So if you don’t have a
womanlike or someone who has an general viewpoint or a
person with a bio degree, but those perspectives matter to the
organisation or product you wish to create, then it’s never going to work
And the evidence that it is formidable to find women is complete
BS. Any bank will tell you that the No. 1 employee they remove the
many income on is the mid-tier womanlike they bring on when they are
22 who leaves in her midst to late 30s. These are women they spend
a ton of income training, and a ton of income attracting and
hiring. And then they remove them. And they remove them for many
reasons. They’re going to other sectors, other industries. So for
us in the financial-services universe to contend we can’t find women is
ridiculous. They are out there.
We’ve finished it here at Anthemis. Our staff is over 50% female. So
we can contend palm on heart that it is probable to build a diverse
firm. We also have 13 conflicting languages from, we think, 15
conflicting countries, sitting all within the village here. But
it wasn’t but effort. You have to demeanour for that.
When we deposit in companies we ask the founder what their devise is
for diversity. we had an engaging review with a company a
couple weeks ago. They were presenting a smashing judgment in the
credit-card space targeted at millennials. And the whole pitch
went through. And at the finish we said, “This sounds fantastic, but
we just have one question. Do you devise to marketplace this label to
women?” And they looked at me like we had 5 heads. They were
like, “Yes, of course, yeah we devise to do that.” And we said,
“Well, how to you devise to actually build a product and market
that product, and discharge that product, to half of your
assembly with positively 0 womanlike viewpoint in your
company?” They literally hadn’t suspicion about it. And nothing of
this is with malice. It’s all about how we build a company for
Chaparro: What worries you as an investor?
Nauiokas: We are witnessing a
large shift. Never in the lifetime have we seen a pierce like
this. This pierce into the digital age. And its effects are not
being discussed in good detail. In the last few years we’ve
talked a big diversion about the effects of digitization, but we
haven’t gotten to the heart of how we will residence the impacts of
digitization and how it will impact multitude as a whole. And this
is something that needs to spin applicable in the nearby term.
Technology has combined much bigger pots of opportunity. So there
should be adequate for everybody. But right now it’s being done
among such a tiny commission of the race that the rest of
the universe has nonetheless to benefit. So we have the shortcoming as
digital leaders and digital stewards to figure out how we can
pierce the universe brazen technologically but leaving behind so
Chaparro: You mentioned progressing the boost of
understanding activity in Q1. Considering all this speak about political
uncertainty, is this startling do you? What is your explanation
for this boost in activity with the capricious backdrop?
Nauiokas: No, it’s not
startling at all. We are going to continue to see significant
understanding activity in tech and financial technology. Because we are in
the midst of that change from industrial to digital that I
mentioned and record isn’t going away. Opportunities to
muster tech services and products will only increase, because
right now only a tiny commission of people have entrance to the
market. There is so much room to grow. Now does that meant we don’t
consider there will be hiccups in the economy in the future? No, of
march we don’t consider that. But we will see that understanding upsurge in tech
and fintech continue increase.
Chaparro: we was wondering if you could share
some career recommendation for the readers.
First and foremost, the energy of the network is incredibly
important. For women entrepreneurs and financial-services folks,
in particular, there is now some-more of a enterprise to collaborate. If
I’m honest, when we assimilated the Wall Street ranks, it was a very
conflicting time. There were very few womanlike mentors, and female
execs we could demeanour to for care or counsel, and in a handful
of those cases it was the accurate opposite. They didn’t wish you to
get in their way. we am anxious that we have witnessed such a
mutation of that opinion in the last 25 years. Because now
everywhere you spin there is a women who is peaceful to step back,
step sideways, step in, and lift you along with them. And women
need to take advantage of this new environment.