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Index Ventures' Mark Goldberg sees opportunity in consumer fintech

May 20, 2022
Photo illustration of Mark Goldberg.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Index Ventures' Mark Goldberg is hot on the consumer right now. His view is going against the grain, at a time when fintech investors are more interested in companies that sell products to businesses.

Details: Goldberg, who sits on the board of Plaid and led the firm's investment in Lithic, Creative Juice, and Nova Credit, spoke with Axios about where he sees the best opportunities.

  • "In the last 18 months, we saw consumer finance became much more fused with culture and identity. Cash App is probably the cleanest example of this: It started popping up in Reddit forums, got rapped about, and became part of the Atlanta hip-hop culture," he said.

What in consumer fintech is capturing your interest?

  • "The next chapter and opportunity is for investors and entrepreneurs will be winners by demographic and not necessarily by product. There's a consumer finance brand waiting to win for example in the recent-retiree demographic and the young moms demographic."
  • "Free-trading from Robinhood or no-fee from Revolut built huge audiences around [those products]. But I actually think that paradigm is basically over because the advent of infrastructure companies has pretty much leveled the playing field in terms of product."

But everyone seems to want to be a super app. And that does have a winner-takes-all connotation.

  • "I think everything will become a super app. I just think that there will be winning super apps by demographic. So, for example, Cash App will duke it out with Chime for somewhere between Gen Z and millennials, I guess."

Is consumer more attractive from a pricing perspective right now?

  • "I actually think the opportunities are probably more in Series B right now. (Investors have fled to seed rounds) and Series B is an unloved stage. I think that round is probably repricing a bit and going to create opportunities for us."

What would you not touch with a ten-foot pole?

  • "Lending or anything with a balance sheet component. It's not that I categorically wouldn't do lending. But I would go in very skeptical at this point in the cycle."
  • "There has been cheap capital fueling a lot of these lending companies. Now there's so much uncertainty over rates. So I'm very cautious in that sector right now. BNPL, student loans, mortgage issuers. Anyone where part of their model is borrowing."
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