Past Meetup

March Fintech Meetup: The Future of Alternative Investment Platforms

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A Panel on Alternative Investment Platforms

“High correlation in traditional asset classes as well as low interest rates have driven outsized demand for alternative investment products (a category traditionally defined as indirect investment vehicles like hedge funds, PE / VC funds and REITs). In the past several years, innovative platforms have emerged to broaden access to these existing alternatives—and more importantly, open up new ones like direct investing in P2P lending and equity crowdfunding. This panel hopes to explore the issues that will shape the demand, supply, intermediation, and technology supporting the continued evolution of the alternative investment market."

Sample topics:

· Demand – Perspective on what waves have played out (i.e., unsecured consumer credit) and what is yet to emerge (infrastructure, bitcoin ETFs, etc?)

· Supply – What strategies are platforms using to source investment opportunities? How do institutional vs. retail investors view the sector differently?

· Platforms – Is this a winner take all market? What are some strategies for managing the double sided marketplace conundrum?

· Regulation – what are the regulatory structures that govern p2p and equity crowdfunding? What are some strategies to manage them?

· Technology – what types of technology will facilitate the expansion of these markets in the future? E.g., alternative credit scoring, private company data platforms, portfolio management tools, workflow management tools, etc.


John Raguin:

John’s experience lies in 20+ years involved in venture backed companies both on the company side and the investment side. John currently is a Managing Director at Devonshire Investors, a private investment firm affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments. He has led Devonshire’s investments in peerTransfer and ownCloud. John was recently an Executive in Residence at Battery Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in many software sectors. Prior to Battery, John spent a career on the operational side, including being in the first six employees of three successful software companies. Most notably, John was the CEO, President, and Co-Founder of Guidewire Software (NYSE: GWRE), a provider of core system software to the global insurance industry. He was also an early employee of SupplierMarket, an electronic procurement software vendor, running product management and product marketing which was acquired by Ariba (NASDAQ: ARBA). John’s other software experience included MRO Software (NASDAQ: MROI) and Work Technology. John has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Featured Panelists:

Larry Cheng:

Larry focuses on investment opportunities in Internet applications, information services and software. He has served or presently serves on the boards of Prosper Marketplace, Cortera, Ensighten, GlobalTranz, (, mindSHIFT Technologies (acquired by BestBuy) and Stylesight (acquired by Top Right Group). Larry served on the Board of Prosper Marketplace for 6 years since its initial public launch and has helped to shape the evolving peer-to-peer lending and alternative investment platform markets. Prior to helping found Volition Capital in 2010, Larry was a partner at Fidelity Ventures, where he led their investment in Verid (acquired by EMC). From 2000 to 2005 Larry was a senior associate at Battery Ventures where he was actively involved in OpenNetwork Technologies (acquired by BMC Software), Ximian (acquired by Novell), and Ruckus Network (acquired by TotalMusic). From 1998 to 2000, he was an associate for Bessemer Venture Partners where he focused on software investments. Prior to Bessemer, Larry was an associate consultant at Corporate Decisions Inc. Larry earned a B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College. He is also on the Harvard University Alumni Association Board of Directors, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Board of Overseers, and Wycliffe Bible Translators Board of Directors.

Ryan Feit:

Ryan is the CEO of SeedInvest, a premier equity-based crowdfunding platform that connects accredited investors to leading startups seeking funding. Ryan co-founded SeedInvest because he saw the need for a better way to connect entrepreneurs and investors. Prior to founding SeedInvest, Ryan worked at Carlson Capital, Wellspring Capital Management and Lehman Brothers in New York City where he invested in, financed and managed dozens of private and public businesses. Prior to the passage of the JOBS Act, Ryan supported The Startup Exemption, the nonprofit responsible for bringing the concept of equity crowdfunding to Washington, D.C. Ryan co-founded the Crowdfunding Professional Association and currently serves as an Executive Board Member and the Chair of the Education and Training Committee. Ryan also serves as a Board Member of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates group and the Chair of the Portals Committee. Whenever given the chance, Ryan enjoys traveling and has been to 77 countries. Ryan received an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jason Jones:

Jason Jones is a Co-Founder and Partner at Lend Academy Investments, an investment services firm in the online lending sector. Prior to Lend Academy, Jason founded HighStep Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage Internet and financial services companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of iFunding, an online real estate investment platform; and on the Board of Advisors of iMENA, a Middle Eastern Internet holding company. Previously, Jason worked at J. Goldman & Co. where he was a Sr. Analyst for a $100m Internet focused long/short equity portfolio. In addition, he worked as an Internet equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs, a venture capital research analyst at Cambridge Associates, and as a trade settlements associate at Fidelity Investments. Jason holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University and a BS from Babson College. He is originally from the Boston area and he currently resides in the NYC area.