At Fabric Ventures, we are always excited to innovate at the juncture between traditional financial services and new open economy financial incentive models, to encourage a more inclusive, efficient and liquid financial services industry. Our new General Partner, Anil Hansjee is rejoining the Fabric family, having played a fundamental role in the fund’s genesis at Firestartr.
Anil joins full-time at Fabric Ventures with a wealth of vital experience of traditional financial and media institutions and technology venture capital, spanning over nineteen years. His career initially started as a software engineer and product management leader in derivatives capital markets technology with O’Connor and Associates (now UBS) and then JP Morgan Chase. After business school, he moved into investment banking with JP Morgan Chase, before diving into technology investing with funds such as Investinor, EQT Partners and Mojo and corporates such as International Data Group (IDG), Google, Modern Times Group (MTG) and PayPal Ventures. During his time as a digital media and fintech corporate executive, he has been responsible for major innovation and startup investment programs, including seed investing in Shazam, co-founding the Google Campus in London, acquiring key deep technology components for Google Hangouts/WebRTC/Goggles/ Maps/Shopping/Voice and Chrome Remote Desktop, chairing the largest YouTube MCN in the Nordics (Splay Networks) and building the eSports business of MTG, which resulted in the acquisition of ESL Gaming Network. Most recently, he helped build up PayPal Ventures globally in the role of Head of Corporate Development and PayPal Ventures, EMEA, with notable acquisitions of iZettle and Honey and venture investments in fintech infrastructure companies such as Tink, PPRO Financial, Modulr, Codat and Raisin.
Anil has a long history with Fabric Ventures, from his history with Firestartr and as one of the most active investors in Fabric Ventures’ first fund. His collaborative history with Fabric Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Richard Muirhead, has continued for over a decade, working together at Firestartr since 2012. Together, building the foundations of Fabric Ventures’ Open Economy thesis.
Whilst at Paypal Ventures, Anil began to see the corporate buy-in of bitcoin as an emerging signal of convergence between the traditional financial services and cryptocurrencies. In parallel, as an investor in Fabric Ventures’ first fund, he observed how founders building the Open Economy were disrupting the very same finance and media industries, in which he had spent his entire career, via increasing asset tokenization. He came to the conclusion that timing was now to closer align with his long term co-investing partner, Richard Muirhead, in taking Fabric Ventures to its next phase of evolution.
We are very excited for Anil to now devote his full attention and energy to the efforts of Fabric Ventures. Anil, welcome to the team!
Could you talk a little about the history of your relationship with Richard Muirhead?
In 2012, Richard and I began investing together (at Firestartr) to fill the European seed funding gap for digital tech founders and this has evolved into our focus today on the Open Economy (decentralization, digital assets, and other forms of FinTech and deep tech). At Firestartr, we backed companies such as Wise, Tray.io, Verse, Railsbank, Wagestream, led the due diligence and proof of reserves work at Bitstamp, and invested in (via their advisor roles to PE fund EQT) and led the automation specialist Automic, until its sale to CA Technologies.
This investing and incubating remained our “labor of love,” and helped to sharpen Firestartr’s investment thesis, which we carried out despite our day jobs! In 2016, I joined PayPal, where I helped build up PayPal Ventures globally and headed up the payment giant’s EMEA investments, personally deploying over $115m, seeing the evolution of a more modular and inclusive financial services tech infrastructure and the embracing of bitcoin by corporates. I also became an active LP in Fabric Ventures’ first fund from 2017, investing in for example Polkadot, Sorare, 1inch and Coinbase, so I saw the Open Economy innovation first hand. It then became a natural step for me to “rejoin” the Fabric Ventures family.
How do you see your vision as aligned with that of Fabric Ventures?
There is a potential to build a next wave of financial services built on the blockchain, from tokenized assets and digital currencies. It’s unacceptable to me personally, that in this day and age we have a profoundly rigid two tier financial system. There are over 1.5bn adults globally that don’t have a bank account or debit card or internet based financial transaction capability. Even if they do, it’s prohibitively expensive to be poor, suffering from a limited choice of traditional financial offerings, and exposed to expensive pre-paid instruments and payday loans. These services will reduce financial discrimination with a more universal access to financial products which you and I take for granted, remove inefficiencies in transactions with fewer fees and fewer intermediaries, and create a more liquid market for non-fungible real world assets.
Team Spotlight: Anil Hansjee, New General Partner at Fabric Ventures, Former PayPal Ventures was originally published in Fabric Ventures on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.