Alastair (Alex) Rampell joined Andreessen Horowitz in October 2015, but his ties to one partner at the Menlo Park, Californiabased venture capital firm go back much further. In 2002, as an undergraduate studying applied mathematics and computer science at Harvard University, Rampell met Chris Dixon, who was then pursuing an MBA and has been an Andreessen Horowitz partner since 2013. Introduced by a mutual friend, they met at a Harvard Square coffee shop and ended up talking for almost five hours about different business ideas, Rampell recalls. In 2004 they started an antiphishing company, FraudEliminator, which turned into SiteAdvisor in 2005 and was sold to McAfee Associates in 2006 for $75 million. Rampell says SiteAdvisor ran into a common problem of tech start-ups that he resolved to overcome with his next venture: How do you monetize digital goods that people dont want to pay for? In 2006 he co-founded TrialPay, which allows consumers to get products or services for free in exchange for shopping with advertisers. That and two other fintech start-ups co-founded by Rampell retail credit company Affirm in 2012 and consumer-spending analytics provider TXN Solutions in 2014 received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, which Silicon Valley tech stalwarts Marc Andreessen (No. 12 last year) and Ben Horowitz started in 2009. Visa bought TrialPay in February 2015 for $116 million, and Rampell helped guide the transition before formally joining Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner. I like coming up with ideas and helping people work through problems, says Rampell, who describes his mentoring style as more coaching than playing. He has led seed and Series A rounds totaling $15.4 million for Point, a Palo Alto, California, start-up created by TrialPay co-founder Eddie Lim that lets homeowners sell equity stakes in their properties, and a $9.2 million Series A for Branch International, a San Francisco company operating a mobile lending platform for sub-Saharan Africa. Rampell says he has closed a deal that has not been made public and has three others pending. He sits on the boards of Affirm, Point, and TXN, as well as on that of institutional trading company KCG Holdings, where Hans Morris (No. 10), managing partner of Nyca Partners (an investor in Affirm), is also a director.
The 2016 Fintech Finance 35 Click below to view profiles