Wharton FinTech
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Wharton FinTech

Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Partners — The Evolution of Global Fintech Investing

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Partners. Deven joined the team in 2000 and has since made more than 130 investments in enterprise software, data, and consumer internet businesses globally, including in North America, Europe, India, Israel, China, Africa, Latin America, and Australia.

Deven and I cover a number of topics, including:

What Makes Insight so Successful:
Deven and the Insight team change what they focus on based on the needs of their investors and their portfolio companies. However, Deven highlights passion, sourcing, and onsite support as consistent and key drivers for Insight’s success.

  • Passion: Deven and the team genuinely love investing in software companies and have fun doing it.
  • Sourcing: Insight talks to over 25,000 companies per year and has a team of over 40 individuals solely dedicated to sourcing startups
  • Onsite Team: The onsite team is the largest team within Insight today. The group has created centers of excellence across sales, marketing, product development, finance, and more to support its portfolio companies.

Deven’s Favorite Pitch:
When asked about the best pitch he ever heard, Deven has a hard time selecting just one, but ends up highlighting Checkout.com. Deven credits an associate on the team that pushed him to meet with Checkout’s leadership. After the first meeting, Deven and the rest of the team were convinced that they should move forward with the investment opportunity. Deven highlights an instant connection with founder Guillaume Pousaz as the key in making the investment. In Guillaume, Deven saw an entrepreneur that has long-term vision, an ability to make big bets, and an ability to constantly innovate — all necessary characteristics to capture the digital payments market.

Select Investments:
Deven and I dive deeper into three of the team's recent, global fintech investments in Slice, GCash, and Pomelo:

  • Slice: Slice is an Indian challenger credit card company, selling to individuals who are new to credit. Individuals receive limited lines of credit to start, and slowly get access to increased lines as their credit history builds up. Over the long run, Deven believes that credit cards are only an entry point for the company. He believes that Slice can become a leading neobank in the space, offering a broad swath of financial services products for a largely underserved Indian population.
  • GCash: GCash is a Philippine company that offers payments, investing, credit lines, e-commerce, and more for middle class and lower-middle-class consumers. The company is by far the market share leader in the Philippines, has substantial scale, and was recognized by The Asian Banker in 2021 for its outstanding digital financial inclusion programs, which impact more than 48 million Filipinos in the country today.
  • Pomelo: Pomelo is an Argentinian infrastructure software startup that makes it much easier for banks and other companies to issue debit and credit cards throughout Latin America. Prior to Pomelo, it took banks up to 15 months to offer credit cards in a new region. Pomelo takes this process down to 2 months or less, allowing companies to tap new regional markets with much less friction.

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Deven Parekh:
Deven Parekh is a Managing Director at Insight Partners. Since joining Insight in 2000, he has made more than 130 investments in enterprise software, data, and consumer internet businesses globally, including in North America, Europe, India, Israel, China, Africa, Latin America, and Australia.

Currently, Deven serves on the Boards of Directors for Appriss, Calm, Candy, Checkout.com, Chrono24, Community Brands, CoreLogic, Diligent, DistroKid, DriveWealth, Ellkay, Fanatics, iad, PDI, TetraScience, Vinted, WeWork, and Within3. Other companies within his portfolio include Chargebee, FTX, Thunes, Splitwise, 1stdibs, Slice, Saks.com and Saks OFF 5th, BharatPe, and Automattic (WordPress).

In addition to his work at Insight, Deven currently serves as a Board Member for the Council on Foreign Relations, NYU Langone, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Tisch New York MS Research Center. He was also confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Board of Directors for the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.

Prior to joining Insight, Deven was a Principal at Berenson Minella & Company, a New York-based merchant banking firm, where he served on the M&A Committee. He also worked for Blackstone on M&A and other investment activities. Deven has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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About the Author:
Anirudh Singh is a second-year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School, where he is part of the Wharton FinTech Podcast team. He has a passion for economic development, venture capital, financial services, and all things FinTech. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feedback, and opportunities at singhan@wharton.upenn.edu.

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