Fintech City Tour goes to New York to see Bits of Destruction hitting Wall Street

For many years I was happily an Englishman in New York. Asking me to name a favorite city – London or New York – is like asking me which of my kids I like best.

So I am not taking sides in the Fintech Capital of the World debate.

Fintech in New York is a big and vibrant scene. So I needed a good guide with his finger on the pulse. That is @brunoswerneck. I asked Bruno the usual questions:

  • What’s hot?
  • What’s emerging?
  • What’s trending?

I got very thorough research by Bruno. Consider this a guest post from Bruno with a bit of editorializing from me.

The first thing Bruno pointed out was New York’s strength in trading and asset management (which is not surprising as New York is home to the biggest Equities and Fixed Income markets in the world). Firms to highlight:





Asset Management

Betterment (which recently raised a $60mm round at a $500m valuation).



Sliced Investing

Private Markets




This is Bits of Destruction hitting Wall Street. Bits of Destruction was a phrase coined by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures in this post eons ago in 2008. It is another way of saying digitization or digital economics. It is appropriate to use a phrase coined by Fred Wilson because his firm has proven that a Tier One VC firm can be founded outside Silicon Valley and is an exemplar of the New York startup scene – respected and liked. Building a Tier One VC firm does take time, because lemons ripen early but the great ventures take their time to show their full potential. USV has so many great successes and they are not Fintech specific, but within Fintech their portfolio includes AuxMoney, C2FO, CircleUp, Coinbase, Crowdrise, Covestor, Dwolla, FundingCircle, LendingClub, SigFig, eShares. What jumps out of that list is that they are NOT all from New York. USV is a great VC firm based in New York that will invest wherever they see a fit to their thesis.

The debate about whether London or New York is the Fintech Capital of the World may get media and political attention, but to entrepreneurs this is just “noise on the line”.

As Bruno pointed out, New York is a great port city, an import-export center. You can say the same about London. Talk to the Englishmen in New York or the New Yorkers in London or both of them on the regular NYLON flights and you will tend to hear:

“It’s both stupid”.

My inner journalist cannot resist the comparison:

On Innovation Capital it’s a draw. New York has more home-grown early stage VC firms (RRE, IA and USV) but London has the best tax advantaged schemes for angels (EIS and SEIS). New York is also home to two of the biggest Growth Equity Funds (GA, Summit), but this matters less because growth equity funds invest globally. It is early stage capital that has to be local.

New York has one big advantage and one big problem.

The big advantage is that New York is where high velocity ventures go to do their IPO. There is no reason – in theory – why the London Stock Exchange should not be the go to exchange for high velocity ventures – but in practice it isn’t.

New York has one big problem. It is not to the East in London. It is to the West in Silicon Valley. This means Fintech in America has two magnets – New York and Silicon Valley. Fintech in Europe has one magnet – London. That is not to diminish all the amazing innovation in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Sweden and other Continental European countries, but London is clearly the Fintech Capital of Europe.

It is not so clear that New York is the Fintech Capital of America, because that could still be Silicon Valley (which clearly has the top Fintech Unicorn score). The Fintech City Tour will finally make it to Silicon Valley.

Bruno also pointed out that New York is a natural meeting place for Europeans and West Coasters. Both feel comfortable making the trip to New York.

Bruno also pointed out the globalization trend such as the recent expansion of the Barclays Accelerator to NY and the UKTI delegation that came to New York with London’s Mayor (Boris Johnson). Big launch events, such as Finovate and Innotribe, use both London and New York. This reinforces the idea that is New York plus London, rather than New York versus London. In short:

NYLON is the Fintech Capital of the World.

One thing that Silicon Valley taught us is that physical place matters – despite all the distance killing digital technologies. Bruno pointed out ValueStream and Work-Bench with their co-working studios as places where the New York Fintech community gets together. Manhattan and London share the problem of being expensive and gathering places need to be central.

Finally, Bruno put together a superb resource listing the Twitter handles of the people to connect with in the Fintech scene in New York:

Fintech Investors in New York on Twitter

by @marcpbernegger and @brunoswerneck

Albert Wenger / @albertwenger / VC at Brian Hirsch / @hirschb / Brian Hirsch is a New York based VC, founder & Managing Partner of Tribeca

Venture Partners

Dan Ciporin / @dtcippy / Current VC, Ex-Operator

David Sica / @djsica / @Nycapartners [FinTech Venture Capital] formerly @Visa @MerrillLynch

Greg Neufeld / @gregneuf / Partner at @FinTechNY. Left hedge funds for startups, now VC looking for the web platforms that have the potential to revolutionize big Finance.

Jerry Neumann / @ganeumann / Hacker, backer, slacker. Jim Robinson / @jdrive / Roughly 70% water. Also: VC / Entrepreneur / Volunteer / Tinkerer

Matt Harris / @mattcharris / Husband, father of three, VC focused on financial services, based in New York City.

Matt Witheiler / @witheiler / Entrepreneur. VC. Deliverer of on-the-spot guidance. Fax me at 617-307- 9293.

Mike Cichowski / @mcichows / Dad. VC. LP. Tech and product junkie. Passionate about future of FinTech and Commerce.

Roger Ehrenberg / @infoarbitrage / Managing Partner of IA Ventures. Data junkie. Quant dude. Baseball coach. Crazy University of Michigan alumnus married to a fellow Wolverine.Thomas Loverro / @tomloverro / Venture investor @RRE Ventures. Father, husband, cancer fighter and NHL ’94 devotee. Formerly @Drobo and @GoldmanSachs. #NerdNation


This list was created by Bruno Werneck and inspired by the existing fintech scene overviews from Marc P. Bernegger.

Bruno Werneck / @brunoswerneck Financial and enterprise technology junkie. Analyst @JPMorgan with experience @NestEggWealth. Views are not investment advice.

Marc P. Bernegger / @marcpbernegger Serial Entrepreneur, Fintech Investor at Orange Growth Capital and @NextGFI, Co-Founder of amiando (WEF Global Technology Pioneer, exit to Xing) and (exit to Axel Springer)

Bruno Werneck published several articles about fintech in general on Quora and on his website

#Fintech #Finance20 #NYC

Marc P. Bernegger already published several overviews about fintech in Switzerland fintech in Romandie fintech in Germany, fintech in the UK, fintech in Singapore and Hong Kong and fintech in France.

Fintech Operators in New York on Twitter

by @marcpbernegger and @brunoswerneck

Alexa von Tobel / @alexavontobel / I am a dreamer. Founder/CEO . Working hard to make financial advice accessible for millions of Americans. Financial Expert, Author, & CFP.

Barry Silbert / @barrysilbert / Founder, Digital Currency Group, Founder @SecondMarket, Creator @BitcoinTrust; investor in Bitcoin companies

Brett King / @brettking / Founder , Author, Speaker,@AmerBanker Innovator of the Year, WVNJ Radio Show Host working globally to reboot the banking experience

David Haber / @dhaber / Founder @onbondstreet, formerly played VC @SparkCapital. Husband to@juliabhaber. Passionately curious.

David Rose / @davidsrose / Venture capitalist, entrepreneur, angel investor

Howard Lindzon / @howardlindzon / Chairman/Co-Founder of Stocktwits..GP of Social Leverage (Angel),Wallstrip creator (purchased by$CBS),Momentum, Stocks, Stock Market & LOL hunter..Love Popcorn

Jeremy Baksht / @jbaksht / FinTech enthusiast. BD@TrustedInsight, Co-lead @Sales_NYC, Advise @CirrusMD @Brainscape@CoinDotCo @DigitalTangible. Tweets are not financial advice.

Jonathan Stein / @jonstein / Founder and CEO @Betterment. Efficiency architect. Happiness optimizer. Engineer & economist.

Leigh Drogen / @LDrogen / Founder and CEO @Estimize, Ex-Hedge Fund Manager at Surfview Capital, Citizen of the Internet, Blogger, Hockey Player, Surfer, Grill Master

Matt Burton / @burtomd0 / CEO @ Orchard Noah Breslow / @noahbreslow / CEO of OnDeck, husband, father, entrepreneur, relentless optimist.

Phil Haslett / @haslettp / Co-founder of EquityZen (a 500 Startups company). Chef-in-Training, NYC Adventurist, Golf dork, Globetrotter on sabbatical. A’s/49ers/EvertonFC Fan

Fintech Community in New York on Twitter

by @marcpbernegger and @brunoswerneck

Becca Lipman / @BeccaLipman / Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. I’m taking a closer look at the technology trends that keep the world turning.

FinTech Collective / @fintec_io / a modern venture platform, built to harness the power of curated networks

FinTech Lab / @FinTechLab / The FinTech Innovation Lab is a 12-week program in NYC for early & growth stage fintech startups.@FinTechLab is managed by @Partnership4NYC and@Accenture.

FinTech Startups / @NYFTS / The Largest FinTech Meetup Jenny Fielding / @jefielding / Running fast…

Jesse Podell / @Jessepod / True net worth is how you treat other people. Co-Founder @TechDayHQ & @wedeliversmiles #LATechDay #DCTechDay #NYTD

Jon Zanoff / @jonzanoff / Product Geek & Founder of@EmpireStartups and @NYFTS The Largest FinTech Meetup

Josh Kuzon / @JKuzon / payments nerd, vc investor, payments ninja @SVB_Financial, ex corp strategy & development @JPMorgan Chase. tweets are my own.

Reuben Levy / @Reuben_007 / Strategist, operator, angel investor. Views are solely mine.

Tanay Jaipuria / @tanayj / Currently @McKinsey,previously@Palantirtech, @Google, @Zynga,@Columbia ’14. I like tech, econ, psychology and @Manutd. Views and banter my own.

ValueStream Labs / @FinTechNY / ValueStream Labs is a FinTech startup lab and VC firm. Our GPs: @gregneuf@karlantle @jell00. Follow @StartupFTfor our FinTech news feed.

Work-Bench Ventures / @Work_Bench / Work-Bench is an enterprise technology growth accelerator in NYC. We scale startups through our community, workspace, business development, and venture fund


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