Currently ranked: 3
Previously ranked: 2
Widely respected in a community that can seem obsessed with numbers and deal flow, Matthew Harris makes a stand for quality over quantity. “Deal pace is not a metric for us,” the Bain Capital Ventures managing director asserts. “There are circumstances when no deals are perfectly fine. People should not be [incentivized] to invest in what may not be the best things.” In 2017, as of October, Harris had overseen six new fintech investments, up from two in 2016. Since 2012 his unit has deployed about $450 million in 24 transactions. A deliberate and deep thinker who guides BCV’s fintech-focused team of seven — recently supplemented by executives in residence like Ron Martin, former CEO of U.K. payments company Paysafe — Harris puts a premium on seizing opportunities ahead of the pack. He is as aware as anyone that “we have seen discrete chapters in fintech” — with interest currently building in the insuretech segment. “We try to put our markers in the ground before it goes mainstream.”
One of those markers is in the real estate market, which is riddled with inefficiencies — “we saw that emerging as the next chapter a year ago,” Harris says. BCV invested early in — and Harris is on the board of — Oakland, California–based Roofstock, which in 2016 launched a now fast-growing online platform for investing in single-family rental homes.
Harris worked for Bain & Co. and Bain Capital private equity before co-founding Village Ventures, with Bain backing, in New York in 2000. He was immersed in early-stage fintech investing until 2012, and has been in New York with Bain Capital Ventures since then. Harris is also on the investment committee of Digital Currency Group, which he calls “a front-row seat” for cryptocurrencies and blockchains and “a place to see and even affect how that evolves.” Despite concerns about the volatility and bubbles of Bitcoin, “it’s a mistake to ignore it,” he says. “There is value in democratization of financial services.”