The 30-plus companies in Nyca Partners portfolio range alphabetically from Abra, a money transfer app, to mobile bank Zero. Right around the middle is Lending Club, which caused some unexpected disruption this year for Nyca managing partner Hans Morris and sent shock waves through the fintech community. In May, Renaud Laplanche, chairman and CEO of the San Franciscobased peer-to-peer lending leader, resigned after some documentation and disclosure improprieties came to light. Morris, a Lending Club director since February 2013 a year and a half before he founded Nyca stepped into the role of executive chairman. With a few quick strokes, including the elevation of president Scott Sanborn to CEO, the ship was steadied; Morris now is just chairman. Ive learned a lot of lessons on how to manage risk that we can apply to our other portfolio companies, he notes. Its not the type of experience we all want to have, but its been a learning experience all the same. A graduate of Dartmouth College (BA in government, 1980) and a benefactor of the New Hampshire schools Ethics Institute, Morris spent 27 years with Citigroup, holding such positions as COO of the investment bank and CFO of institutional businesses. More recently, he was president of Visa and a managing director of General Atlantic. Nycas headquarters is in New York, but the firms name symbolizes the bridge it figuratively spans between the Big Apple and Californias Silicon Valley. Eyeing insurance as an emerging fintech frontier, Nyca has invested in online providers Embroker and Ladder, and in Zendrive, which collects and analyzes sensor data from smart phones to improve risk management and lower insurance costs for auto fleets. The firm also has a position in online financial adviser SigFig. Im a big believer in disrupting what we call personal advice brokers, intermediaries, says Morris, 57. For people with $100,000 to $200,000 in assets, an algorithm will give you a better investment and with less compliance risk, he adds. A machine will outperform a human: There is better technology, better user experience, and much lower costs.
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