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When Amy Nauiokas and Sean Park left their corporate market jobs to start Anthemis, an investment platform focused on innovating financial services, in 2010, they were a bit early to the fintech boom — especially for a firm based in London. But being ahead of the game has turned into one of the firm’s biggest strengths, they say. Park — an Alberta native —says their early entrance has allowed them to consistently get in front of industry trends, citing Wayne Gretsky’s famous line, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
This mantra has seemed to serve the woman-led firm well thus far. Ten years in, Anthemis has seen its portfolio swell to more than 150 companies, with a handful of unicorns including recurring revenue stream trading platform Pipe ($2 billion valuation), fintech infrastructure platform TrueLayer ($1 billion valuation), and retirement focused Betterment ($1.3 billion valuation). “In a year where fintech itself has come full circle, it feels pretty great,” Nauiokas tells Forbes. “We are starting to see some of our later stage investments get the attention they deserve.” Now, months after the firm saw its very first investment, Cloud-based cross-border payment company CurrencyCloud, exit they are announcing the close of a new slate of funds.
The firm raised $700 million of fresh capital to be split across a handful of strategies — including Anthemis Digital Acquisitions, a SPAC that began trading in November. The bulk of the funds are split into a barbell strategy, Nauiokas says. This allows the firm to continue its thesis of investing in pre-seed through Series B embedded finance companies with enough capital to take advantage of attractive opportunities at the latest stages, too. It also permits the firm to follow on in its early-stage bets throughout each company’s life cycle; follow-up rounds made of more than half of its deals in 2021. Experience enables the firm to bring its knowledge to the table when working with companies in different stages of growth.
These new funds also come at a time when the European market is heating up — 50% of the firm’s portfolio is in the region and 50% is in the U.S. “Having a foot in both markets and understanding the dynamics and the regulatory side really gives an advantage,” Park says. “We can cherry pick the best opportunities and learn not to just copy and paste in a simplistic manner.” He adds that Anthemis has been around long enough to know what types of companies succeed in each market. Payments and money transfer companies including Wise do better in regions like Europe, he cites as an example. Money transfer in a business setting isn’t as relevant in the U.S. and on the flip side direct-to-consumer fintech startups like Chime don’t make much sense in Europe — yet.
With this raise, the firm is also announcing that Nauiokas, who has until now been serving as CEO, will transition into a co-CIO alongside Park. Briana van Strijp, who has been with the team since 2016, most recently in the role of chief operating officer of the firm and its SPAC, will take over the role. Women-led firms in fintech are a rarity, but Anthemis has been focused on diversity from the beginning. “When Sean and I got started, we didn’t want it to look or feel like any other company on Wall Street or any other company in tech,” Nauiokas says. “We made a deliberate effort.”
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Now, with both firm founders in a position to focus on investing full time, the firm is bright-eyed heading into the new year. “We have seen a magnificent amount of success,” Nauiokas says. “We always say we aren’t the investors that will invest in every single great company — because that would be impossible — but when we invest, we help make it a great company.”