Arjan Schütte is the Founder and Managing Partner of Core Innovation Capital, a leading venture capital fund investing in financial services companies that empower everyday Americans. Arjan is a passionate advocate for market-based financial inclusion. We got the opportunity to ask Arjan a few questions about his perspective on digital money from his many years of experience in the fintech world. We are looking forward to having Arjan join us at the State of Digital Money 2018 conference on our financial inclusion panel.
SODM: You have lots of experience in the finance industry as an investor – What is the single largest truism about the financial sector that the lay person like me wouldn’t know about or consider?
Arjan: Don’t want to assume what you know, nor believe there is one overarching truism. One thing many fintech entrepreneurs don’t understand nearly deeply enough is the importance of trust. The finance industry – indeed money – is built on trust. This is even more raw of a truth in digital currencies.
SODM: What comes to mind when you hear “digital money”?
Arjan: A drink anyone?
SODM: How has the landscape of #fintech (technology behind finance like mobile payments, etc) changed in your time working in the industry? And specifically, how it has changed investment?
Arjan: There was no #fintech when I started investing in this field in 2005. I saw about 100 new deals a year back then. Now, it’s over 1000. The level and type of talent has changed. Top caliber entrepreneurs are in our field now, that was much more rare a decade ago. And it’s leaders who are thinking much more broadly today – in more segments than payments and at more layers of the stack. That said, we have still not seen the kind of transformation that Airbnb brought to hospitality or that Lyft brought to transportation. The Fintech Revolution is still ahead of us!
SODM: How did you or your company get into Blockchain/crypto space? And how has it changed since being in the space?
Arjan: We started looking at crypto in 2013, which is when we invested in the seed round of Ripple. There were no ICOs and most of the startups in the space were garage projects. Last year was transformative for the crypto space: mostly wild speculation and gambling. Although we’re clearly also building the infrastructure today – both technical and regulatory. Real world use cases are still skinny, but I’m excited we’re seeing more every day.
SODM: Can you tell us more about CoreVC and what problems is it trying to solve?
Arjan: Core is on a mission to invest in the New American Dream. We believe in addressing big real-world problems that matter to everyday Americans, like financial health, like the future of work, like housing for everyone. Most coastal professionals don’t realize how dire these basics of life are for more than half of America. We don’t invest in tree-hugging Missionaries, or callous Mercenaries – but in the Misfits who are passionate about making the world better and know how to wield technology to that end.
SODM: How is CoreVC different for others/competition?
Arjan: We are also deep in our industry and bring that to our portfolio. We’re a small team who cares deeply for our founders and will scale mountains for and with them. Everyone in the Core Family is committed to leaving the campsite better than how we found it.
SODM: What are some resources interested parties can use to educate themselves?
Arjan: See our medium page off www.corevc.com.
SODM: Big picture – Any predictions for 2018? and beyond that?
Arjan: A crypto crash and a Phoenix that rises from the ashes.