[Business Insider] Meet 26 rising-star fintech VCs excited about what's next in the sector
Sarah Morgenstern, a principal at Flourish Ventures.
How did you get into fintech investing?
I moved to China for a couple of years and saw that exposure to financial inclusion in that context, seeing the power of financial services and the role and the contribution it can make in both helping individuals achieve opportunities and macroeconomic development firsthand. I did an MBA at Wharton and worked in corporate finance at McKinsey. I was doing private-equity work and consulting, so I could fuse those two things in investing.
I relish working with extraordinary founders who are intent on building commercial leases, successful companies that have a mission and are animated by a desire to help people manage their day-to-day cash flows in a way that's going to help them be more resilient and seize opportunities. I think with the wave of mobile innovation in financial services we have this real inflection point where you could leverage technology to reach more people at lower costs with better services. And so it's been incredibly fortuitous to be a part of this space over the last five years, because tech-lead innovation can make a contribution.
What continues to make fintech a strong investment even in a downturn?
COVID has reinforced and shone a spotlight on what motivated us to do the work in the first place. Nearly 70% of Americans struggle with financial health, and many live paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, underserved groups are spending more than $300 billion a year in interest and fees. So there is a compelling commercial opportunity and meaningful impact to be made to innovate better products at lower costs for that large underserved market.
What trends are you watching?
The pandemic really accelerated the adoption of digital financial services, and around it a number of the structural trends we were already seeing underway. For example, embedded finance and consumer shifts, things we thought were going to be big in several years, accelerated within weeks because everybody was trying to figure out 'how do I keep living?' In parallel, smartphone penetration marched on to growth globally. It's opened up new avenues for financial-service providers to reach.