Fintech Leaders
Fintech Leaders
Lauren Kolodny, Co-Founder of Acrew Capital - The Case for Consumer FinTech, Lean Into Your Strengths, Traits of Rising Star VCs

Lauren Kolodny, Co-Founder of Acrew Capital - The Case for Consumer FinTech, Lean Into Your Strengths, Traits of Rising Star VCs

Miguel Armaza interviews Lauren Kolodny, Co-Founder of Acrew Capital, a multi-stage venture capital fund with over a billion dollars in AUM.

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My guest today is Lauren Kolodny, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Acrew Capital, a multi-stage venture capital fund with over a billion dollars in assets under management. Some of their fintech investments include Chime, Gusto, Coinbase, Bilt, Vanta, and Klar.

In this episode, we discuss:

Lessons from over a decade of investing in technology and fintech

“We believe that there's this irony in the fact that VCs spend all this time thinking about investing in the future. And yet, our industry has been kind of culturally stuck in the past.”

After 10 years in VC, Lauren is a big believer in the importance of maintaining a thesis-driven strategy, which has been instrumental in guiding her investment decisions. This approach means having a rigorous process of identifying and committing to specific sectors or themes based on analysis and conviction.

A bullish case for consumer fintech

“Not surprising to me, but the alpha from consumers, just the potential is so much more significant, right? And I just think - I love enterprise. I love b2b. But if you're not actively putting consumer into your portfolio, you're leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.”

Despite perceptions of saturation, Kolodny argues that the fintech sector remains full of untapped potential, driven by ongoing macroeconomic shifts, demographic changes, and technological innovations. The early 2010s was a pivotal era for consumer fintech, marked by the emergence of now-dominant players like Chime, Coinbase, and Robinhood. This period presented a unique confluence of factors: post-2008 distrust in legacy financial institutions, the rise of the digitally native millennials, and the smartphone boom. Lauren’s conviction in consumer fintech is partly based on recognizing similar conditions in 2024, including economic volatility, an increase of spending power from Gen Z, and the recent disruptive wave of AI. For Lauren, these parallels suggest we're at the cusp of another big shift in consumer financial services.

Developing talent from within

Acrew Capital is structured in a way that allows early-career professionals to specialize in well-defined areas and verticals, aimed at accelerating their ability to develop expertise and conviction. This focused approach is balanced with opportunities for broader exposure, as all team members must spend 20% of their time exploring other thematic areas and industries. Additionally, Acrew places a strong emphasis on professional coaching, offering each team member a coach for personal development and long-term career planning. Finally, Lauren recognizes that self-awareness is a key accelerator of career progression within VC, and team members who recognize and leverage their strengths tend to advance more quickly.

How Acrew covers multiple industries and keeps their ear to the ground… and a lot more!

There are many ways to find the next best amazing entrepreneurs. For Lauren, one of the most powerful ones is tapping your own personal network. If you surround yourself with great people, this can be a powerful tool to uncover new and exciting opportunities. By simply asking your relationships who is the most interesting person they know that’s building something, Acrew has been able to tap into a wealth of high-caliber recommendations.

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Miguel Armaza is Co-Founder & General Partner of Gilgamesh Ventures, a seed-stage investment fund focused on fintech in the Americas. He also hosts and writes the Fintech Leaders podcast and newsletter.