From left: Shannon Austin, Ryan Falvey, Tom Brown and Tyler Griffin have launched Financial Venture Studio.

Our modern economy needs modern financial services. What’s holding us back? (Hint: it’s not the money)

While technology has permeated nearly every element of our lives, we still have clumsy, error-prone transaction accounts, insecure payment methods, widespread failures in pricing risk and credit, and staggeringly high and regressive fees. The industry has failed to keep up with the demands of the modern economy.

Why has so little in financial services changed? It’s not a shortage of creative ideas. It’s not for lack of brilliant entrepreneurs. It’s certainly not because there is insufficient capital.

It’s because the industry was designed to be stable, even if that meant it was more expensive and less convenient for users. As a society we’ve prioritized the success of large, entrenched incumbents, clear and predictable business models, and rigid regulations. It’s led to a reliable system, but one that is full of roadblocks to creativity.

While that’s frustrating for innovators, we believe this dynamic is creating once-in-a-generation business opportunities for those who can break through.


Sadly, “breaking through” is never easy. Early-stage fintech businesses are at a severe structural disadvantage — by the time most startups encounter investors and advisors with deep sector knowledge, they have wasted precious time, and many promising businesses have already failed.

Because the availability of capital and expertise are so mismatched, few companies succeed — despite a plethora of brilliant ideas and excellent teams.


The Financial Venture Studio works with entrepreneurs to combine capital, expertise, and connections where they are most needed: at the earliest stages of product development.

By shaving years off product pivots, bringing together the best industry partners, and working with teams to build the best products, we know how to select — and help create — winners.

Before launching the Studio, Ryan Falvey designed and operated the Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and Tyler Griffin built and sold Prism Money. Tom Brown has dedicated his 25-year legal career to helping innovative financial services entrepreneurs succeed in our complex legal and regulatory environment, and Shannon Austin has dedicated herself to creating authentic and meaningful strategic communications strategies that get startups attention from customers, regulators, and investors. We’re also assembling an industry leading group of advisors, the first of whom is Alex Acree, Managing Director of Fenway Summer Ventures.


But knowledge, on its own, isn’t enough. In reality, knowledge, execution, and relationships are interactive and inseparable from teams and business models.

We have learned that the most efficient way to help entrepreneurs is to create a bespoke program for a select group of companies in which they can learn from us and each other. In the span of six months, the Financial Venture Studio provides:

● Product development guidance

● Critical introductions to incumbents, partners, regulators, and legal counsel to minimize barriers to development

● Coaching to ensure that our companies are ready to meet the myriad stakeholders necessary to take the next step with them

● Capital designed to meet the needs of rapidly growing businesses

● Introductions to financing partners who will be long-term advocates and funders

This integrated approach allows us to define quality to investors, incumbents, regulators, and the media: the relationships that are the keys to success in this industry. Why? We believe that high-quality investments in financial services are created, not merely discovered.

Our track record speaks for itself. Our companies have included Digit, Even, Scratch, Ripple, Chime, Earnin, Dave.com, Albert, EarnUp, Propel, Point and dozens of other fantastically innovative companies. Together, they have raised nearly $1 billion in follow-on capital, and many have achieved exponential growth in the years following our engagement.

If you’re ready to build the future of financial services, join us. Reach out to us at info (at) finventurestudio (dot) com.

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