Greta Anderson/Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital's fintech focus: Where VC Greta Anderson is hunting for deals
Payments, cross-border credit and even consumer fintech are front of mind for the Balderton principal and judge of the AltFi Awards 2023
With a career that spans from the trading floor at Goldman Sachs to building payment infrastructure at Danish fintech unicorn Pleo, Greta Anderson brings a wealth of practical experience to her role as a principal at Balderton Capital.
"Fintech is my passion, and it's the world I came from,” is how Anderson puts it.
Balderton may be a generalist VC, covering sectors from healthtech to mobility, but it has seen remarkable success with its fintech investments over the years.
From backing Nutmeg in 2014 (sold to JP Morgan in 2021) to early bets on Revolut (2015), GoCardless (2013) and Zopa (2004), hence bringing on Anderson as a principal and Rana Yared as a partner in 2020 to source and execute more deals.
Venture capital hasn’t had the easiest ride post-Covid, with VC investment value in the UK falling sharply by 57 per cent in the first half of 2023 according to Pitchbook data, and with portfolio company valuations under pressure.
Despite the downturn, Anderson is optimistic that there are significant opportunities ahead for those willing to look for them.
“I tend to think of it more as problems to be solved,” she explains to AltFi.
“There are still lots of problems to be solved where people can build large businesses and where there are good margins.”
Maybe unsurprisingly given her expense at Pleo, an SME expense management and payments fintech, payments is a core area of focus.
Since her joining Balderton has invested in Swiss fintech Yokoy, which is “essentially a Pleo for mid-market enterprise”, TreasurySpring and a third as-yet-unannounced payments investment.
“There are still plenty of opportunities in account-to-account payments, if you look at the high percentage of transactions that are still running through the card networks,” she says.
Anderson is also joining the panel of judges at the AltFi Awards 2023, preparing to cast her eye over the nominations later this summer.
“Given I spend most of my time at the very early stage, it’s the earlier stage businesses and nominees for The One To Watch which I’m most interested in seeing.”
Spotting early-stage investments is more challenging in the consumer fintech space, where Balderton hasn’t announced any new deals in the last couple of years, but that could be changing too.
“I think it is true that B2B has had its moment in the sun in the last year and a half,” she explains.
"But I see a large number of really experienced founders building consumer fintech businesses, and that makes me hopeful that there'll be opportunities at the Series A stage.”
What do those opportunities look like? Cross-border credit is one of them, Anderson says, underwriting those thin credit file borrowers who are new to the UK.
“There are also a lot of really interesting early-stage businesses around the next generation of personal finance management (PFMs), not only using open banking but extending that into open finance.”
The holy grail here is a service where someone can connect all the financial assets and liabilities in their life, from ISAs to mortgages and pensions, for a holistic view of their financial life.
“A cockpit where you can take control of your financial future,” is how Anderson describes it.
“Other people are looking at those technologies and reimagining what the private wealth management space would look like for mass affluent customers, creating a kind of digital family office.”
Despite the pressure on venture capital and challenges facing fintech in the post-Covid era, Anderson's optimistic outlook reflects a belief in the opportunities still available for startups addressing genuine financial challenges.
Nominations for the AltFi Awards 2023 are free and close at midnight 29 September 2023.
Note: TreasurySpring is a portfolio company of ETFS Capital, the owner of AltFi and ETF Stream.