- Tripp Shriner is a partner at P72 Ventures, the VC arm of Steve Cohen’s hedge fund.
- Money is flowing through gig and creator economies, but they’re still underserved financially.
- Shriner, who previously worked at JPMorgan, explains why incumbents stand to miss the opportunity.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The numbers are impressive.
While celebrities have always been able to nab valuable sponsorship deals, everyday people are now also make significant money via social media.
And some are taking notice.
“We’re looking quite a bit at the creator economy, which for better or worse feels like it’s turning into the new small business,” Tripp Shriner, partner at Point72 Ventures, told Insider. “There are emerging employment trends going on, and as a result, a need for new types of financial services.”
Point72 Ventures, the VC arm of Steve Cohen’s hedge fund Point72 Asset Management, is bullish on funding fintechs that tap into this market.
Abound, a startup that embeds tax accounting and payments into gig economy and creator apps, is one recent Point72 investment. Since many gig workers and influencers file 1099 tax forms, under miscellaneous income, Abound’s tech analyzes income and automatically calculates taxes and facilitates payment, Shriner said.
There are other areas where this workforce does not fit into the “traditional box” of financial services, he added.
“If I’m a gig economy worker who’s got nothing but 1099s — I’m not a W2 employee — it is hard for me probably to get a mortgage because they don’t have good information on me and it doesn’t fit into their traditional underwriting models,” Shriner said of incumbent banks.
Freelancers represent a huge market for fintechs
All of them operate as “micro-SMBs,” Shriner said, which means they need many of the same services a traditional small business would require. That includes tax services, credit access, benefits, cash flow management, and accounting.
Financial institutions are usually places driven by money, but incumbents risk moving too slowly to reel in the catch, Shriner said.
“A lot of incumbents are built for the world as it has been, and you’re starting to see new models that eventually they’re going to have to solve. But in the meantime, there are new forms of infrastructure and new direct-to-consumer — direct-to-those businesses — that are going to pop up and have a good opportunity,” he continued.
Shriner, who worked at JPMorgan’s strategic investment group for nearly 8 years before coming to Point72, said incumbents also lack the data, workflows, and technology in place to effectively serve them.
“Most financial services products and services are built for a W2 world,” he said. “We believe that tailored solutions that start with these new workers and the pain points they face are better poised to capture this market.”
To be sure, P72 is not the only one watching the space.
Citi Ventures’ senior vice president of venture investing, Jimmy Zhu, told Insider how the gig economy has underscored a gap in financial services products, especially from a wealth management and advisory perspective.
And Index Ventures’ partner Mark Goldberg echoed the opportunity of new distribution channels to tap a younger demographic. “The rise of the influencer is coming. You’re not going to see JPMorgan on TikTok. It just doesn’t feel native,” he told Insider.