500 startups yesterday announced a new vertical fund, 500 FinTech, which will focus on investments in companies that we are deeming as: “Financial Services For the Rest of Us.”
Over the last 6 years, 500 Startups has made some great investments in the FinTech space. With nearly 80 investments in 10 countries, including CreditKarma, Flywire, FeeFighters (acquired by Groupon), Simple (acquired by BBVA), iMoney, andRealtyShares, CB Insights has tapped 500 as the most active early-stage FinTech investor in the world.
During those 6 years, we’ve learned a lot about building next generation financial services:
- Financial Institutions are still not serving millennials, minorities, women, and emerging markets effectively
- Technology (especially smartphones) will slash the cost of delivering financial services to billions of underserved consumers and businesses
- Traditional financial institutions are not innovating fast enough to meet changing customer demands
All of this means we are still in the early days of the financial services revolution, and it’s a great time to be an early stage FinTech investor.
As FinTech entrepreneurs ourselves, we’ve also learned that we know there’s no such thing as a lean startup in financial services because:
- Navigating regulation requires deep industry expertise
- Building trust with customers and establishing relationships has long lead cycles
- Building a great financial services company takes more than building a breakthrough product, it takes breakthrough marketing and distribution too
So we’ve created the world’s leading FinTech-focused program, including a dedicated early-stage fund, an accelerator program and a corporate partner program.
Our FinTech fund, targeting a $25M raise, will let us invest in ~100 early stage companies globally. We will work with entrepreneurs delivering superior value to underserved audiences – whether directly, or in partnership with traditional players. We’re targeting startups in Lending, Investment Advisory, Personal Finance Management, Blockchain, Money Movement, and Insurance.
Our FinTech accelerator complements 500 Startups growth hacking, fundraising advice, connections, and community with FinTech-focused mentors and industry relationships. We’ll be accelerating 20+ companies per year in the San Francisco Bay Area and have already kicked off our first batch of 10 FinTech companies in Batch 16.
Our FinTech partner program helps bridge the gap between FinTech startups and established players, providing our portfolio companies with access to the expertise, distribution and infrastructure that financial services startups need to scale, and providing banks, insurance companies, software companies, data providers and investors access to vetted FinTech startups from 50 countries around the world.
To find out more, email 500 Partner Sheel Mohnot at firstname.lastname@example.org!
About Sheel Mohnot:
Sheel is a Partner at 500 Startups, running the 500 FinTech Fund and the FinTech track within the San Francisco Accelerator program. His recent startup experience includes 2 successful FinTech exits – a payments company and a high-stakes auction company. He also created and hosts a podcast called The Pitch.
He formerly worked as a financial services consultant at BCG and did Microfinance work at the non-profit Kiva. Sheel holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Carnegie Mellon. Additionally, he loves furry creatures such as… himself. You can follow him on Twitter @pitdesi.
Many thanks to Mike Sigal (FinTech EIR) for revisions on this blog.