Welcome to our first post as Element Ventures….we are thrilled you’re here and reading this. We wanted to take this opportunity to set out why we started the firm, take a moment to thank our supporters and most importantly, make some commitments to the founders and management teams we will partner with over the next years as we grow. In future posts we’ll expand on our industry thesis and target verticals.
We hope after reading this you will know us a little better, understand our values and maybe even feel the need to get in touch. We haven’t missed the recent debate about cold or warm intros and so here’s the first thing we should say: get in touch with us in whatever form you want. No one can explain your business better than you and we won’t tell you how.
Let us start with why we launched Element Ventures, before we do let us tell you a little about the background of the team. Between the three partners we have 25 years of experience investing in enterprise financial technology and over 50 years of experience working in financial markets. We know this space well and it was a natural evolution to launch Element. Even so, when we considered the plan we asked ourselves the same three difficult questions we would ask a firm we might invest in — is the market big enough, did we have product/market fit, and what’s unique about us?
On market size, we believe conservatively today’s enterprise financial technology is a $750bn per annum market across our six verticals: wholesale markets, asset/wealth management, insurance/re-insurance, infrastructure as-a service, SME finance and decentralised finance. That’s big, more than big enough to allow new, early-stage firms to build meaningful scale. But if you just look at the market size today, you’re likely to miss what we consider to be the most important thing about enterprise fintech — that the market is tipping. As new technologies mature from the lab to be enterprise ready, and as incumbents finally embrace technology as the solution to chronic challenges, more and more wallet is being spent with young, pioneering technology firms. Our team has been investing in this trend for ten years and every day we see it accelerating. So yes, in our opinion the market is big enough.
As any early-stage firm knows, identifying the moment of product or market fit is hard and our case is no different, but we do have absolute clarity on the need. Time and time again as we worked with portfolio companies the need for a new venture firm became clear. The market desired a firm that was a specialist in the enterprise space, could invest meaningful scaling capital and was able to partner with all corners of the market. We believe Element will answer this call. The early feedback has been phenomenal.
Finally, and most importantly, we asked ourselves why we’re unique — why would a founder and management team choose to partner with our firm? We could focus on our specialism and experience, or the fact that we’re backed by world class financial technology entrepreneurs who have walked the same path. Or that our team have had the honour of backing some of the best businesses in the space, worked with a spectrum of talented founders leading fundamental shifts in our industry and have invested alongside the world’s leading financial services and venture firms. Or that our team have had the privilege of serving on the boards of ground-breaking firms such as Duco, OpenGamma, OpenFin, Fernego, nCino, AcadiaSoft, Cloud9, Callsign and Axoni.
All those things are important but frankly if you asked any one of us to tell you why we’re unique you would get the same answer — we have long term conviction and make long term commitments to people we believe in. That doesn’t mean we always agree with management teams, in fact often it means saying the difficult things and challenging the status quo, but our firm is built around the single principle of absolute and unwavering steadfastness to firms that select us as partners. We understand many make similar claims, we look forward to proving ours in the coming months and years.
To sign off we’d like to take a moment to speak directly to our early supporters — investors, referees, advisors, founders and industry friends. The response we have received has been extraordinary and we thank you all for your generous insight and input. To investors, your trust and support is humbling and hugely appreciated. Our commitment is to build a firm we can all be proud of. More on this in our next post! Thank you for taking the time to read our first post. Onwards.