I hope everyone had a festive and relaxing holiday break. Happy New Year!
In my previous post I announced the end of my collaboration with Santander InnoVentures and hinted at a new project that has been in the works for a while. I would like to tell you more about it as we near launch.
I am very excited to announce that I have been working on creating a new fintech investment firm, MiddleGame Ventures (MGV). I am a chess aficionado and the “middle game” occurs after the opening gambit and before the end game, usually when things start to complexify, an apt metaphor for the intricacies of investing in startups and helping them grow successfully.
I am delighted to have co-founded MGV with Michael Meyer (twitter & linkedin). Michael and I founded one of early fintech funds while at Route 66 Ventures and built that team while investing in 20 fintech startups. We also co-founded the RegTech Lab which focuses on regtech innovation across the globe and recently completed a sandbox research project on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I have known Michael for over 25 years and consider him one of my closest friends. Michael is a seasoned investor, having managed equity funds with Wellington Management and a variety of funds – from PE to hedge to credit – with various financial institutions. Michael is also a seasoned entrepreneur and we have done hand-to-hand combat operating a variety of businesses together.
I am further delighted to have Patrick Pinschmidt as a partner with MGV. Patrick was Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury Department in the last administration where he served as the first Executive Director of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Prior to that, Patrick was a well-recognized equities research analyst focused on FIG with Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. Patrick brings deep insights in capital markets and other key sectors of the financial ecosystem as well as financial regulation, expertise which nicely complements Michael’s and my background.
The first fund will invest in fintech startups in both North America and Europe with an exclusive focus on post seed and series A/B rounds (as the initial investment). We intend to lead or co-lead most of our investments and to take a seat on the board where possible. Our overarching goal is to help every portfolio company that will have chosen us as one of their investors to reach its highest potential. MGV will favor b2b and b2b2c models and will not shy away from complex solutions for complex workflows, including such areas as: core systems, payment infrastructure, asset issuance or financing, digital identities (within financial services for either retail individuals or corporations), multi-party computation in financial services, new business models driven by open banking/insurance, and cloud and edge computing.
We intend to build a fund that will do more than identify, invest, and serve on the board of promising startups. We will be deeply embedded in the fintech ecosystems in which we invest. To that effect, we are also working on select initiatives with local partners in the US and Europe that will strengthen collaboration between startups and incumbents. More on that later as these projects mature.
We are putting the finishing touches on our fundraising. As every entrepreneur knows, fundraising takes time and patience. Be that as it may, as we finalize our first close – a well known milestone in the vc fund industry – we stand ready to make a handful of small, select investments through a warehouse facility that we created last year.
I will update you on our fund as we approach our first close, as well as on the other initiatives we are working on when the time is right. In the meantime, I will be back to you shortly with some thoughts on why I am so excited to be an investor in this space.