PS27 Top 5 Lessons Learned at Boston Fintech Week
In September, PS27 Fund Manager Chris Byers attended Boston Fintech Week, hosted by several leading financial and educational institutions around Boston. Below are our Top 5 Lessons Learned and key takeaways and fintech trends from the event.
1. High-Quality Founders Matter
Above all else, like most early-stage investors, we prioritize high-quality founders. At the core, we like to invest in smart people that can coordinate resources to solve real customer problems. In that, we look for founders that we believe have the ability to recruit and inspire a talented team to create a compelling solution to a customer’s problem, gain traction in the market, and then scale the business. Even if you are a first-time founder, we would like to see some demonstration that you can build a team to successfully accomplish a goal.
We also look for founders with strong business acumen with a disciplined financial management approach. At PS27 Ventures, we look for lean business models and efficient spending. We like the approach that considers the return on investment in all spending, regardless of the economic climate. Learn more about our ideal skill sets of a founding team and the significance of a founder’s ability to display market awareness in this interview with PS27’s Director of Communications, Christine Caven.
It is especially important in today’s economic climate to manage the business towards the “path to profitability.” If you’re a founder, you can submit your pitch deck and apply for funding here.
2. Passion for the Customer Comes First
The founder needs to prioritize the customer. We want to see passion for the customer. We want to hear how you are going to make your customers’ lives better.
This is more important than fundraising, company valuations, or cap tables. We want the pitch to the customer to be even more compelling than the investor pitch.
One of our core values at PS27 is attention to detail, and we often will put our team in the customer’s seat before investing. We look at things like the user experience on the company’s website, social channels, email marketing, and customer journey before making an investment. We want to see that the founders are engaged with customers and are building a nurturing relationship with their customer community. If we’re serious about investing, we will buy your product, test it, and analyze the customer experience. This gives us first-hand experience to see what it’s like to interact with your startup brand.
3. Staying Warm in a Crypto Winter
At Boston Fintech Week, several VCs participated in a session about Sky High Valuations & Tightening Market Conditions: What’s Going on in Fintech Venture Capital. The tone was clear; VCs are “Back to the Basics.”
There are many great opportunities in the fintech industry in an economic downturn, and we’ll keep looking to make more Fintech investments through the Crypto Winter.
We will be looking for champions of blockchain technologies that solve customer problems, especially where the customers are business customers, from small businesses to enterprise size. We’ll be looking for solutions to solve the underlying infrastructure issue of establishing digital identity so that more security, safety, and trust is established in fintech transactions.
We are looking to look for solutions that solve real problems.
4. Communicate the Outcome Expectation
In a Boston Fintech Week session at Slalom Consulting’s Boston office, Amazon Web Services’ Worldwide Innovation’s Ben Michael led a panel with Kristen Kanders from Fidelity Investments, Peter Reiser from Citizens Bank, Eric Zacherek from Wells Fargo, and Jean Dollelly from Sandbox Banking, and they expressed the importance of clear and direct communication with founders. And PS27 Ventures, we also find this to be imperative.
Honest and transparent communication is always the goal. When working with founders, we believe it’s important to be clear about our outcome expectations from the partnership, and we look for the same from the founders. We are looking for founders who value hands-on operational support from the PS27 team.
Also, we do have a goal to say “no” quickly if we know we aren’t moving forward. And only say “maybe” intently.
There is one universal thing that founders always appreciate from PS27 Ventures; we review everything, and we always provide an answer to everyone that applies for funding within 24 hours. If the deal moves forward, we move on to a financial review, due diligence, and a deep dive team meeting, and then the deal is signed. Founders can learn more about our expectations and the funding process for fintech startups here.
5. FinTech is an Exciting Growth Area
You may not even realize how many areas of fintech exist.
What are examples of Fintech? The categories of current fintech include Wealth Management, Business Payments, Digital Lending, Digital Leasing, Mobile Payments, Peer to Peer Payments, Budgeting Apps, InsuranceTech, Banking Tech, Investing, Stock Trading, eCommerce, and Blockchain Technology. Check out these companies leading the industry in the Forbes Fintech 50.
In recent news, PS27 Ventures recently invested in Payall in a $10M round led by a16z. Payall is an early-stage company that is working with financial institutions to streamline and reduce the cost of cross-border payments while providing the underlying need for identity, safety, and security while meeting all the regulatory and legal requirements involved in cross-border payment.
“The wonderful thing about this deal is we’re not only connected to a great founder and entrepreneur and what we believe is going to be a unicorn,” PS27 CEO Jim Stallings said to the Jacksonville Business Journal, “but we also have our local investor here in Jacksonville that are our limited partners that are now in a substantial deal.”
We are looking forward to working with more fintech founders to help them solve more problems. If you are building a fintech company and are seeking capital, mentorship, hands-on help, and an extended team of experts, submit your pitch deck here.