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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures (Part 3)

Posted on Thursday, Apr 4th 2019

Sramana Mitra: The reason I’m asking is for a little bit of specifics. For example, one of the trends that I’m observing right now is there’s an increased emphasis on blending of business lending products of various kinds. This could be consumer lending. There’s a bunch of companies that are doing payday loans equivalent which is shark-infested water.

But they’re doing a very much cleaner and much more sophisticated humane job of that value proposition to ease the cash flow and working capital requirements of the low income workers. Then we’ve seen a lot of small business lending kinds of products come through. Various companies are taking various different spins on it.

Rebecca Kaden: For us, we’re going to go out and find the areas that have the activity related to our thesis. So we tend not to be as reactive to where people are grouping on certain companies. There was a big burst of lending four or five years ago. We love LendingClub and several others like that. So we’re doing less lending now because it seems like it had a strong time and some of it is now more reactive to that. You take consumer healthcare. There are a lot of people working on that.

We’re very excited about this idea that there’s an opportunity to leverage technology not only to make healthcare more convenient for those who already have access to it but also to broaden the number of people who can get it by driving down the cost. Often that means taking apart a complicated system and focusing on much more specific pieces. We’re specifically interested and have been spending time with people who are not only outcome-oriented. So they’re making that care better. They’re leveraging technology and humans together.

We’re less focused on healthcare companies that we think are just going to use machines to solve the problem or ones that make it easier for you to just find humans. But we think the central model is powerful that humans have a specific dataset that they operate on and you can supercharge that data set with technology with a very powerful system. That will impact primary care. That’s an example of a subcategory that we think there’s a lot of activity in.

Another one’s in education. We’re very focused on the idea that as much as technology has transformed so many things we do structurally, education remains very similar to how it’s been for decades. It’s largely classroom-based and largely textbook-based. Maybe those textbooks moved online. Maybe you watch lectures online. But, structurally it hasn’t really changed.

So we’ve been very interested in companies that are going to make it possible for consumers to get much broader range of access to high-quality education and educational tools, and do it in an interactive way that might structurally change how we learn throughout the course of our lives. We have some investments in that already, but it’s a category where we spend a lot of time in.

This segment is part 3 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures
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