FinTech Female Fridays: Nitya Rajendran, Senior Associate, Tribeca Venture Partners
What emerging technologies do you see playing a major role in the New York FinTech space in the next 6-12 months?
Amassing and accumulating data of all types will continue to be a strategic imperative. Successful FinTech startups will use this data to better understand their customers, predict behavior, and optimize their businesses. There is an increasing amount and variety of data coupled with cheaper and more accessible technology. More data enables companies to better understand consumers and market conditions to optimally price their products.
The second emerging trend we’re seeing is a hybrid model combining automation and people. As prevalent as automation has become, speaking with a human can be comforting to consumers and helps companies gain their consumers’ trust, especially for more complex financial topics. We’re seeing many FinTech startups create an online-first approach with the ability to reach human representatives. This focus on the consumer experience pays dividends in conversion, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
How do you foresee New York emerging tech influencing the rest of the nation and the world?
The New York tech scene has been thriving and has really surged in the last decade, becoming the second largest tech capital in the country. Venture capital firms are consistently investing billions of dollars into startups in the region and many tech companies are opening up huge offices here, further attracting top tech talent.
What really makes the New York tech scene so attractive and influential is the same thing that makes New York the best city: its diversity of people and talent. People with different life experiences are so valuable when building and investing in new companies. We have different industries like retail and media, where experts can emerge and innovate. Learning from other people’s perspectives is essential and has ripple effects across the country’s tech ecosystem.
How is Tribeca Venture Partners differentiating themselves from other venture partners?
We differentiate ourselves in a few ways:
● We invest 90% of our dollars into New York-based companies. We’re huge believers in the NYC tech ecosystem and have been since our inception.
● We’re high conviction investors. Each year, we lead Series A and seed investments in 4 – 6 companies after looking at thousands. When we invest, we are all in and help our founding teams in any way we can.
● We’re responsive. We want to be the first phone call when something great happens and the first phone call when there’s a fire drill. We work tirelessly for our founders.
What makes a company attractive to invest in?
● Team first and foremost. Nothing else matters if you don’t believe in the team.
● Huge market opportunity. We want to invest in companies that have the potential to be massive, whether that’s through automating previously manual processes, solving huge problems with a new perspective, or tackling a white space.
● Strong unit economics and ability to scale. We invest in companies where growing profitably is part of their ethos.
What do you see as some of the biggest challenges for FinTech startups?
There are two major challenges the financial industry as a whole is grappling with: the regulatory climate and data security. It is more time consuming and expensive to work within the boundaries of compliance, but if FinTech companies don’t, they risk getting shut down. Security must also be a top priority. Security breaches tarnish brands and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of data breaches. They want financial institutions to be trusted partners in protecting their data.
Reach out to Nitya on LinkedIn.