Q&A with SBT Venture Capital

Veliko Tŭrnovo 1.What is your definition of fintech?

My view is that fintech is a misnomer, but good as a shortcut name. What we really mean is the disruption of financial services through technologies like mobile, cloud, social, big data analytics, crypto, etc — and whatever will be invented in the years to come. While financial services companies like banks and insurers were traditionally early adopters of Information Technologies, the accelerating nature of technological change and the intrinsic difficulty of changing a large corporation imply that small, agile, nimble companies (aka “startups”) have a genuine advantage in taking advantage of fintech disruption opportunities
2. What geographies do you focus on?
We invest worldwide, so the correct question for us would be “what are the countries/cities focus on developing a fintech startup ecosystem?” Our investment portfolio spans the globe, from Hong Kong to Israel, London, New York and Silicon Valley.
3.What stages do you focus on?
We focus on Series A investment rounds, as we think we can bring maximum value to our investors by applying our in-depth business and technology expertise in identifying the next successful fintech disruptive startups
4.What are the top trends in fintech that interest you now?  Were they the same trends a couple of years ago?
I still believe that the impact of mobile and cloud is only at the beginning — we have seen major transformations of many businesses, including financial services, and still we are just touching the surface.
I was an early proponent of the business impact of social computing, however the enterprise impact has yet to be felt. There is an effervescence of startups that are mining the social data generated by customers — again, we are still in early stages, which means the opportunity to identify the next successful fintech disruptors is at a maximum.
Big Data Analytics is maturing — so we are not necessarily looking at Big Data “pure” plays, but rather at those startups that have mastered the science and the technology and are able to generate extra value from this technology.
While we have followed the three trends above since founding SBT Venture Capital two years ago, we recently started to pay close attention to crypto, specifically bitcoin and blockchain technology.

5. What is more important?  What to invest in (trend/company/business model) or When to invest (based on private capital cycle, hype cycle, technology cycle, public markets cycle)

Tricky question, as both are important. Forced to have a opinion, I go with “what”, as the fundamentals have to be there — product and market fit — before having a successful startup. Money can come form a variety of sources– or not, market adoption can take a while to develop, so “when” is also important for success. However, investing using the “when” strategy is what is generating bubbles, as everybody is chasing the same “cool” deals for “fear of missing out” (FOMO). I am mildly concerned that fintech is getting into this phase.
Questions courtesy of @pascalbouvier.

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