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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Vanessa Colella, Citi Ventures

No. 17

Vanessa Colella
Global Head of Venture Investing and Strategic Growth Initiatives
Citi Ventures

For Citi Ventures — the Palo Alto, California, outpost that Citigroup chief innovation officer Deborah Hopkins set up in 2010 — Vanessa Colella scans the horizon for start-ups that Citi can help nurture into meaningful, problem-solving, often disruptive technology businesses. A former biology teacher who has worked for McKinsey & Co. and Yahoo, Colella moved into Hopkins’s strategic investing unit two and a half years ago, after serving as Citi’s chief of North American marketing. The 45-year-old head of venture investing and strategic growth initiatives has been hands-on with portfolio companies, including San Francisco–based mobile payment business Square and Atlanta-based phone-fraud-prevention company Pindrop Security. Looking beyond such popular fintech themes as cryptocurrency — which she sees as “akin to early days in the Internet” — and information security, Colella observes a convergence of innovation around “democratization of access” to financial services, potentially bringing unbanked and otherwise underserved populations into the economic mainstream. “Because of the technology that’s available now, we can lower the cost of that advice or those services,” she says, adding that Square has effectively made electronic payments accessible for the first time to small retailers that traditional banks could not affordably serve. Colella says Citi seeks out collaborations that will result in “making money matters friction-free. We see hundreds of entrepreneurs who are incredibly passionate about making financial services better for people.”

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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