Currently ranked: 10
Previously ranked: 10
Two 2017 investments of Nyca Partners, so named to conjure a bridge between New York and California, indicate the strength of the San Francisco Bay Area in fintech innovation and the breadth of Nyca’s 40-plus investments. Founded in New York in 2014 by former Citigroup investment banker and former Visa president Hans Morris, Nyca in May participated in a $7.65 million seed financing for Merlon Intelligence, a San Francisco–based developer of machine learning and natural-language processing systems. These systems address anti-money-laundering compliance, which Morris says is arguably “the single biggest headache for banks around the world.” In August, Nyca joined in a Greylock Partners–led series D round of $100 million for Blend, a Silicon Valley mortgage technology company. Blend was founded in 2012 by veterans of data analytics company Palantir Technologies, includes U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co. among its customers, and is mapping expansion into other types of loans.
Merlon and Blend took their places in a portfolio ranging alphabetically from Abra (a digital wallet app) and Acorns (micro-asset management) to Zero (mobile banking) and Zinc (retail insurance distribution). Morris is chairman of LendingClub — where he was briefly executive chairman last year following the departure of CEO Renaud Laplanche under an ethical cloud — and is on other boards, including those of AvidXchange (automated invoicing), Payoneer (cross-border payments), and SigFig (wealth management).
Nyca closed its first, $30 million fund in July 2014, and said in January 2017 that more than $125 million had been committed to its Fund II, which by then had already taken stakes in more than a dozen companies. These include Axioma (risk analytics software), Embroker (insurance brokerage), LeapYear (data mining and management), and Personetics (personalized banking services).