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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Andrew McCormack, Valar Ventures Management

No. 33

Andrew McCormack
General Partner
Valar Ventures Management

Five-year-old Valar Ventures Management takes its name from Middle-earth (home to the Valar, the godlike creatures in The Lord of the Rings), but it is an occupant of what general partner Andrew McCormack calls the Peterverse — the sphere of high-tech investing icon Peter Thiel, whose claims to fame include co-founding PayPal in 1998 and data analytics pioneer Palantir Technologies in 2004. Thiel also co-founded and remains a close adviser to New York–based Valar. “Because of a lot of the things that he’s done, we end up seeing a lot of fintech,” says McCormack, 39, who left Yahoo in 2000 for PayPal ahead of its IPO and 2002 sale to eBay. After helping to launch Thiel’s Clarium Capital Management hedge fund firm and taking a side trip into the restaurant business, McCormack in 2008 joined holding company Thiel Capital, whose chief operating officer and general counsel, former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom attorney James Fitzgerald, is Valar’s other founding partner. Valar seeks out technology innovators that McCormack describes as “undervalued by their geography” — meaning, they are outside Silicon Valley. The firm’s first investment, in 2010, was in New Zealand accounting-software-in-the-cloud service Xero. More-recent ones include peer-to-peer currency marketplace TransferWise, also backed by Andreessen Horowitz (see Marc Andreessen, No. 12); Berlin mobile bank Number26; and, outside fintech, photography site EyeEm Mobile. Along with Citi Ventures (see Vanessa Colella, No. 17), Valar in September closed a $4 million seed round for Trading Ticket, an enabler of stock trades through websites and apps, whose CEO, Nathan Richardson, is a former general manager of Yahoo Finance. “What they’re doing is particularly timely in this world of ad blockers and diminished ability to monetize content through advertising,” McCormack says.

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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