Michael Heller, a Venture Partner at Oak HC/FT, joined the firm in 2016 and focuses on growth equity and early-stage venture opportunities in fintech.Michael is currently a Board Observer at Kasisto. His prior investments include Groundspeed (acquired by Insurance Quantified) and Urjanet (acquired by Arcadia).
Prior to joining Oak HC/FT, Michael served as President of FactorTrust (acquired by TransUnion in November 2017), an alternative credit bureau using proprietary data and predictive analytics to generate solutions unavailable from traditional credit bureaus. Prior to FactorTrust, Michael co-founded Argus Information & Advisory LLC, an information services firm serving the global banking industry. It was sold to Verisk Analytics in 2012. Before founding Argus, he was a consultant at First Manhattan Consulting Group.
Michael received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
I was fortunate to start a company in payments data in the 90’s, before banks were really focused on data as an asset. At Argus, we aggregated data across every large payments provider to provide a unique lens into consumer and small business behaviors. Partnering with banks along the way allowed us to understand their perspectives on their data strategy, enabling us to build products to meet their evolving needs. Understanding where customers are heading and designing products for future needs was key to our success. Additionally, by the time we replicated our business model in Europe and LatAm, getting this business off the ground was very difficult. This taught me a valuable lesson in both operating and investing – if it’s not hard, it’s not worth doing.
Oak was our only outside investor and we couldn’t have been happier with their participation. Oak not only understands the demands on the founder/CEO but is ideally organized to support the management team along every step of their journey. Never intrusive and always helpful, we credit Oak’s involvement with our accelerated growth and successful exit. I was thrilled when offered the opportunity to join the Oak team and support the portfolio.
I help portfolio companies develop and execute against their data and risk management strategies. Every fintech has to understand how to leverage their data assets. One of my core beliefs is that "your data isn't special." Companies that get complacent with having unique data usually lose their edge. What differentiates fintechs is the way they use the data, not just the fact that they have it.