Bessemer Venture Partners' Charles Birnbaum - Fintech Infra, Wealth Management, and Thesis Investing

Wharton FinTech Podcast

24-03-2021 • 37 mins

In today's episode, Ryan Zauk sits down with Charles Birnbaum, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the world’s oldest & most successful venture capital firms. Charles joins the show fresh off of Bessemer’s $3.3B raise in February across two funds. Charles is a proud Wharton alum, joining the MBA program after a long stint on Wall Street. He then was employee #10 at Foursquare before joining Bessemer. In today’s episode, they cover: - His transitions from sell-side to MBA to startups to VC, and doing “tech” way before it was a normal part of the Wharton path (2:50) - Bessemer's structure & emphasis on thesis-driven investing (8:05) - His focus on fintech infrastructure and embedded finance, how it was shaped by BVP's existing portfolio, and his underestimation of Shopify (10:48) - His missed investment in Plaid’s Series A and why it made him a better investor (13:58) - His investment in Alloy and why it's critical to find companies with 'Pull' in financial services. (15:55) - The current state of wealth management, how he thinks about segmenting the market, and the sale of United Capital (BVP portco) to Goldman Sachs (19:51) - The fundraising process, portco management, and where you can get creative in hiring (24:40) - And a Rapid fire round including his fintech hero and Wharton classmates in fintech he most admires (31:43) Referenced in the episode: - PFOF Debate with Atom Finance CEO Eric Shoykhet https://medium.com/wharton-fintech/atom-finance-founder-eric-shoykhet-building-for-the-retail-investor-and-debating-pfof-a3156bd79bc - Robinhood COO Gretchen Howard https://medium.com/wharton-fintech/robinhoods-coo-gretchen-howard-democratizing-finance-navigating-a-crisis-embracing-change-d6b293c39e8e For more Fintech insights, follow us below: Medium: medium.com/wharton-fintech WFT Twitter: twitter.com/whartonfintech Ryan's Twitter: twitter.com/RyanZauk LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/wharton-fintech-club/