In Conversation with Michael Vaughan…

May 30, 2019

OAK HC/FT

What are some notable lessons you’ve carried with you from Venmo and your prior startups? How are you planning to leverage those experiences at Oak HC/FT?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is the importance of the team, no matter what business you’re in. Everything else pales in comparison. The most critical thing you need to get right is having, growing and developing the right team with the right mix of experiences at the right time for what the business needs.

From an investor standpoint, I want to identify the founders that are building the kind of top-tier teams that we want to partner with and invest in. And hopefully I can help our companies think about how to effectively grow and develop their teams and scale with their growth.


Now being on the venture side of the table, what are you most looking forward to?

Coming from a long run of operator roles where I solely focused on the success of one company at any point in time, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to look across a much broader set of companies. In my new role, I’ll have the chance to spend time with teams who are working on really hard problems. That’s something I will never get tired of.


What attracted you to the opportunity to work with Oak HC/FT?

Oak HC/FT has a great reputation, but the people are what attracted me to the firm. The opportunity to be part of a team of successful investors, operators and entrepreneurs was incredibly compelling.


What are some of the fintech sectors you will be focusing on?

We have some ideas that we’re going to explore and that will change over time. But there is a common thread among all the areas I’ll be looking: we like to partner with companies solving hard problems and creating real value for their customers.


What trends do you see in fintech?

Mobile will continue to be at the forefront. We’re at a point where mobile is no longer a nice-to-have. From an enterprise standpoint, fintech platforms that make it easier for new products and companies to launch, grow and scale will continue to be critical. There is a ton of opportunity for companies that provide the tools other companies need to get their businesses off the ground and grow globally.

There is a lot of debate around who will own the relationship with the consumer. Who do you think will own the customer relationship going forward?

One common theme, in B2B and B2C, is the user experience. If you prioritize the user experience and add value to the user experience, there is a good chance you will build trust and own some portion of the relationship with the consumer. Companies that add the most value to the user in whatever problem they’re trying to solve are the ones that win out in any space.

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