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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Justin Brownhill and Neil DeSena, SenaHill Partners

No. 19

Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
Managing Partners
SenaHill Partners

“We put our money where our mouth is,” one of SenaHill Partners’ mantras, could apply to any number of firms at various stages of the fintech investing cycle. What distinguishes New York–based SenaHill is its hands-on, merchant-bank-like team of “founders and operators of technology businesses,” says Justin Brownhill, 44, the “Hill” of SenaHill. “We are able to see things a little differently” when identifying disruptive innovators and imparting essential been-there-done-that wisdom. A former Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette banker; an investor in and executive of the Lava Trading platform, which Citigroup acquired in 2004; and CEO of the Receivables Exchange from 2007 to 2012, Brownhill formed SenaHill in early 2013 with Neil DeSena. “We have been on both sides of the table,” says DeSena, 51, who started the REDI institutional trading business at Spear, Leeds & Kellogg in 1992 and, after Goldman Sachs Group bought the execution and clearing brokerage in 2000, was global head of REDI Products through 2006, before pursuing investment opportunities on his own. Managing partners Brownhill and DeSena, along with partners Gregg Sharenow (ex-COO of National Discount Brokers, acquired in 2000 by Deutsche Bank) and Kyle Zasky (co-founder of EdgeTrade, part of KCG Holdings since 2008), represent “multigenerational experience” that compounds the value of the checks they write, which tend to be less than $1 million, Brownhill says. The portfolio includes AIREX Market, a data repository that claims to be democratizing distribution of financial reports and apps; WealthForge, a private investment infrastructure that will power the SenaHill Portal, a soon-to-launch online listing of co-investment opportunities; capital markets blockchain developer Symbiont; and recruitment site untapt. DeSena is excited by the blockchain, and not just because it is “the new black. It will attract more people into financial technology and help the industry solve its talent issues.”

The 2015 Fintech Finance 35

1. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
2. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
3. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
4. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
5. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
6. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
7. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
8. Thomas Jessop
Goldman Sachs Group
9. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
12. Marc Andreessen
Andreessen Horowitz
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
17. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
18. Alan Freudenstein & Gregory Grimaldi
Credit Suisse
19. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
20. Rodger Voorhies
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
21. Michael Schlein
Accion International
22. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
23. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
24. Mark Beeston
Illuminate Financial Management
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
26. Fabian Vandenreydt
Innotribe SWIFT
27. Derek White
28. Alex Batlin
29. Jeffrey Greenberg
& Vincenzo
La Ruffa
Aquiline Capital Partners
30. P. Howard Edelstein
REDI Holdings
31. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp FinTech
32. Roy Bahat
Bloomberg Beta
33. Andrew McCormack
Valar Ventures
34. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
35. Janos Barberis
FinTech Hong Kong

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