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The 2016 Fintech Finance 35: Matthew Harris

No. 2 Venture capitalist Matthew Harris believes many entrepreneurs would do well to understand military strategy.

  • By Peter Vasiliev

2. Matthew Harris
Managing Director
Bain Capital Ventures
Last year: 3

Venture capitalist Matthew Harris believes many entrepreneurs would do well to understand military strategy. “There is conflict in entrepreneurship,” says the Bain Capital Ventures managing director. “It ain’t apple pie. It is hard to disrupt with a bouquet of roses.” As head of BCV’s five-person fintech team, Harris has invested more than $250 million in what he calls financial insurgents. With such concepts as flanking (attacking from the side rather than head-on) and resource deployment in mind, the 43-year-old has advised the likes of upstart exchange operator IEX Group and human resources automation platform Justworks on how to compete against much bigger incumbents. “You don’t build a plan against the enemy’s current position; you build a plan against the enemy’s capabilities,” he explains. “That’s a military cliché, but a lot of entrepreneurs miss the point.” Harris’s obsession with military history began during his senior spring at Williams College, when he read The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916, the second book in Alistair Horne’s trilogy on 19th- and 20th-century conflicts between France and Germany. After graduating in 1994 with a BA in political economy, he spent a year at consulting firm Bain & Co. before moving to its private equity business. The first deal he worked on was the acquisition by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Co. of TRW’s credit reporting business, later renamed Experian. In 2000, with backing from Bain, Harris co-founded Village Ventures to do early-stage investing. He rejoined Bain in 2012 to oversee Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures’ nine-person New York office. His biggest investment to date: $105 million in AvidXchange, a Charlotte, North Carolina–based company that he says “basically digitizes the invoice flow” for middle-market businesses, part of a $225 million September 2015 financing round led by BCV. Most recently, he invested $3 million in former World Gold Trust Services CEO William Rhind’s GraniteShares, a New York–based company that is building a platform to issue exchange-traded funds. BCV typically makes follow-up investments over time, generally averaging about $25 million per portfolio company.


The 2016 Fintech Finance 35

1. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
2. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
3. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
5. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners
9. Darren Cohen
Goldman Sachs Group
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
12. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Propel Venture Partners
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
17. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
18. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
19. Michael Schlein
Accion International
20. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
21. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
22. Alastair (Alex) Rampell
Andreessen Horowitz
23. Steve Gibson
Euclid Opportunities
24. Fabian Vandenreydt
SWIFT
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
Life.SREDA
26. Gardiner Garrard III
TTV Capital
27. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp Fintech
28. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
29. Bina Kalola
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
30. Hyder Jaffrey
Fintech Innovation
31. Calvin Choi
AMTD Group
32. Janos Barberis
FinTech
Hong Kong
33. Jalak Jobanputra
Future Perfect Ventures
34. Sopnendu Mohanty
Monetary Authority of Singapore
35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
Rakuten
FinTech Fund

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