Ian Sheridan has been innovating in the financial world, in a variety of roles, for many years. He has brought that innovative mindset to the venture fund where he is a managing partner, Vestigo Ventures. In this episode of On Boards we discuss the fascinating approach in the use of data they employ in making investment decisions and to how they work on the boards with the entrepreneurs that lead the companies in which they invest.
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“The boards are small, they're, intimate - business conversations dealing with every aspect of business.”
“The best entrepreneurs are driving the company and their teams … the board is there in this early stage to be a coach, to help them navigate, maybe it could be networking within the industry, whether that's growing the business on the distribution side or working with the regulatory compliance side of things – whatever it takes.”
“We use data to source, underwrite and empower our portfolio companies.”
“What’s different about this crisis? Well, I think the first piece is working from our home. Right? So, how do you stay connected? How do you keep that relationship at the right level and make sure you're really understanding where is that person today and what are they facing and how can I move through that issue? ……I would say as challenging as these times are, and the real pain that's happening across the planet and our country, I do see an unbelievable spirit of innovation and drive from these entrepreneurs that hasn't been shaken through this process.”
FinTech is about two things: reducing costs and providing an delightful experience to the customer. This is what all the innovation and improvements in FinTech revolves around. Now we live in a world very if you can think it, we can probably create it and that is what investing now means.
The opportunity that Cogo Labs affords us is the ability through big data to predict with a tremendous amount of accuracy which is the next IP address in North America that has the potential to go viral. What are the big ideas that consumers are thinking about? And then we train our machines to go through that data and say, Vestigo, these are the companies you should look at, these are financial services or FinTech companies to consider and do it very early in the day. If you know what the early adopters are doing on one side, and then you can see what everyone else is doing, you can run some really cool math to understand and predict the next thing.
When Vestigo invests in a company and becomes part of the board the company gets the benefit of the collective expertise of all partners at Vestigo regardless of who actually is on the board. All partners at Vestigo have been operators, serial entrepreneurs and that is really an excellent value-add for the company.
Boards at this early stage are very intimate and although there are various committees and other governance practices and there are a lot of hats to wear and as a board member one is thinking across the business model. The role as a fiduciary does not change but there is a lot more of a bigger white board to work with.
The CEO or the founders of these companies, these are passionate people who are going to run their companies. and, and the best know how to, how to use their board for counsel and advice, and, and potentially, networking. So, whether as an investor a board member or a board observer, we're here for the people we've invested in and that's kind of a 24/7, whenever they need us, we’re there for them.
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