Technology startups are beginning to focus on traditional, regulated industries that until now haven’t seen many startup entrants. But taking on archaic, multi-billion-dollar industries isn’t easy. Startups face a variety of issues, from thorny regulations to apathetic customers demoralized by poor experiences, and competition from name-brand, established competitors. Building a new company in a regulated industry is a daunting task, but it holds the potential to transform an industry and dramatically improve the status quo.
CFO, Simple Finance Technology
Entrepreneur at the intersection of banking, payments, and technology. Co-founder of Simple.
Founder & Dir of Mktg, Getaround
Jessica co-founded Getaround, a SF startup that is pioneering the concept of peer-to-peer car sharing using mobile technology. Prior to launching Getaround, she completed the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, a new graduate program launched by Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, NASA, and Google that focuses on accelerating technology and inspiring a cadre of leaders to address humanity's grand challenges. Jessica is also the founder of IDEAL, a non-profit focused on connecting young leaders with seasoned experts, and previously worked in the Canadian Prime-Minister’s office as a writer and brand marketer.
Managing General Partner, Village Ventures
Matt Harris is the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm with over $175MM under management. Village Ventures is focused on seed and early stage investing in the media and financial services sectors.
Harris began his career as a consultant at Bain & Company, and subsequently joined Bain Capital. At Bain Capital, Harris’ most notable transactions included the $1.1 billion purchase and subsequent sale of a credit-reporting agency, and the $90MM purchase of a medical products distributor. Harris left Bain Capital in 1997 to become the founding Managing Director of The Berkshires Capital Investors, a venture capital fund associated with Williams College. Under Harris’ leadership, BCI’s first fund of $5MM invested in 12 companies, with eight successful exits to date. The BCI organization, now a Village Ventures affiliate, has gone on to raise an additional $60MM.
Harris graduated from Williams College in 1994, and now lives in New York, NY. Harris is a member of the NYC Seed Advisory Board, Chairman of the Board of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and was a founding Board Member and Treasurer of Camp Starfish, a camp for troubled and disadvantaged youth outside Boston, MA. He also sits on numerous corporate boards, including BankSimple, Bluetarp Financial, Consumer United, iSend, MetaMarkets, OnDeck Capital, TxVia and Vico Software.
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