Croom Beatty, Menlo Ventures
How did you get started in venture capital?
I started my career in technology investing right out of undergrad. I worked at Susquehanna Growth Equity, where I started to focus on capital markets, technology, then payments and banking infrastructure. I worked on special projects around the banking structure, then I worked with the expansion in different countries and I worked with small and medium enterprises.
Then I went to Payoneer. It was a great experience, but I really wanted to get back into the adventure. The only complaint about being in a business is that you’re, like, an inch deep and a mile wide – sometimes when you’re operating you’re an inch wide and a mile deep. So I really missed the somewhere in between; this is what i was looking for, where you can kind of talk to entrepreneurs solving different problems.
What areas do you usually focus on?
I do everything in fintech, although if you look at my investments, I’d say it’s more on the business side. I am naturally more attracted to B2B companies. But when you take a closer look, many of these companies end up looking a bit more like consumer-facing businesses. Some companies provide software for individual contractors or resellers, contractors, etc., so they are very much like consumer solutions.
Do you still see some strength in the fintech sector?
I think some of the pushback was expected because a lot of companies were rated as software companies when they weren’t software companies. If you look at insurance and loan companies, they were treated like very expensive software-as-a-service companies. There’s also the case of Robinhood and Coinbase where they experience feedback loops, so when asset prices go up and more people are interested in the assets trading on their platforms, they earn more on every trade – but prices go down, so they’re making less.
Ultimately, though, where I’m bullish about fintech is in areas that know there are so many people who don’t have access to best-in-class tools. Cash, checks and bank transfer are still dominant. There are these very old legacy systems that are still in place, and a lot of their functionality is outdated. It’s amazing when you look at B2B business networks like distributors, manufacturers and all that where invoices are still paper and pen. There are still a lot of areas that are changing, so I’m very optimistic about that.