After working together A decade later, in early 2022, three managing directors of Amex Ventures set out to found their own fintech-focused firm, Vesey Ventures. The trio has made early investments in more than 50 fintech companies, including Stripe, Plaid, Melio and Trulioo. During that time, they helped engineer over 100 partnerships between startups and financial services institutions.
Their goal was to take that 10 years of experience from the venture capital arm of one of the largest credit card companies in the world and apply it to new early-stage investments — but with a twist. The company’s goal, Vesey Ventures says, is to go beyond word sheets to produce “strategy sheets” that describe how it wants to use the network. In other words, he wants to invest in fintech first and tech companies “where there are opportunities to create early partnerships with financial executives.”
And today, the firm — formed by co-founders and friends Dana Ely-Lorch, Lindsay Fitzgerald and Julia Huang, who all left AMEX Ventures at the same time in late 2021 — announced the closing of its $78 million seed round. American Express named the company Vesey Ventures after its headquarters in New York. (Amex declined to say whether it is a limited partner in the new fund.)
Vesey’s self-described mission is to “transform financial services” companies by seeding them back to Series B levels. He plans to invest $1.5 million to $3 million as initial checks, plus a significant amount for follow-up. Based in the United States and Israel, the fund has supported five startups so far Beach, Cyrus, grain, Eq And common sense.
Vesey defines fintech in its broadest sense — meaning it invests outside of traditional financial services categories like consumer and B2B, Eli-Lorch said in an exclusive interview with TechCrunch. It also looks at vertical software, embedded fintech, futures business and infrastructure coverage – essentially, cyber security, risk and compliance, or, as Ellie-Lorch puts it, “all of this financial services back office.”
“Another lens we’re taking is basically any technology software innovation that’s sold to financial services, namely financial institutions or fintech,” she said.
narrowing the gap
When the founding partners started the new company, they all agreed on one thing: it was clear that startups with better business development strategies had better results.
“And that’s the understanding that we ultimately conceptualized,” Fitzgerald said. “This growth in this industry is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s a ‘need to have.'”
“The traditional corporate VC model may be limited, but we see an opportunity,” she added. “We’ve obviously taken the best of what works — business development, our team, our network — including other VCs and angels, and we’ve expanded on it… technologies.”
Today, the partners recognize an exciting phenomenon happening – what senior executives describe as “Gen One” fintech startups. And, despite recent volatility in the fintech space seen over the past two years (funding in 2022 is down significantly from the 2021 peak), Vesey is naturally a “long-term bull” on fintech.
“You just have to look at the dynamics and ups and downs of the financial services industry over the last quarter,” Huang told TechCrunch. “Having said that, things are cyclical. You see who’s naked? For us, this is fundamental.” Development is a cover… We help our companies build and strengthen them to become long-term trusted financial institutions. That has become a very important pillar and is now back in fashion.
In 2010, Huang In 2021, the trio admitted they backed out of investing because it was “getting too frothy.”
“Every company was a ‘me too company,’” she recalls. “So we decided to take a step back and think about our value proposition and what has legs and what doesn’t.”
Vesey deliberately chose to be on the ground in Israel (Eli-Lorch is based there.)A market its partners consider home to one of the world’s fastest-growing tech hubs, with many companies focused on fintech, enterprise software, cyber security and data. It aims to help startups out there partner, expand and do business in the US.
The new firm is keeping mum about LPs, saying it will only include founders and executives from seven “prestigious financial institutions” as well as financial executives, family offices and institutional investors.
Reporter’s note: This story originally reported that Vesey Ventures’ first fund represented more than double all money raised by women-led organizations this year — but that’s incorrect. On April 18, Define Ventures announced it had raised $460 million in two funds.
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