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Podcast: Investing in technology platform shifts, from Fintech to Generative AI, with A16z General Partner Anish Acharya

Podcast: Investing in technology platform shifts, from Fintech to Generative AI, with A16z General Partner Anish Acharya

And how to build Credit Karma

Hi Fintech Futurists —

Welcome back to our podcast series! For those that want to subscribe in your app of choice, you can find us at Apple, Spotify, or on RSS.

In this conversation, we chat with Anish Acharya is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where he invests primarily in financial services and adjacent technologies. He currently serves on the boards of Deel, Mosaic, Silo, and Titan. Anish joined Andreessen Horowitz in 2019.

Prior to joining A16z, Anish held multiple roles at Credit Karma including the General Manager of Core Product and General Manager of U.S. Card, which he helped scale to over 100MM members and nearly $1B in 2019 revenue. Anish joined Credit Karma in 2015 via the acquisition of Snowball, a notifications startup he founded a year earlier.

Prior to creating Snowball, Anish founded SocialDeck, a social-gaming company that was acquired by Google in 2010. He went on to lead various mobile product efforts as well as invest at Google Ventures. Anish graduated from the University of Waterloo and lives in the Bay Area with his family.

Analyzing a16z's fintech investment strategy: Where did the VC place its  biggest bets in 2022? - CB Insights Research
Who Owns the Generative AI Platform? | Andreessen Horowitz

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  • 1’54”: Anish’s foundational experiences with early stage startups & what pulled him towards entrepreneurship

  • 7’05”: Reflecting on SocialDeck's beginnings: early hypotheses, insights from Facebook APIs and mobile behavior patterns, and the evolution of reality

  • 12’22”: Analyzing modern platform Shifts: a deep dive into adoption rates and Disruptive Impact"

  • 17’04”: Journey into FinTech: from mobile startups to Google and Credit Karma acquisitions - A founder's tale of innovation and acquisition Interests

  • 20’14”: Insights from scaling Credit Karma: understanding consumer behavior and navigating the financial life of its users

  • 25’08”: Walking the ethical tightrope in FinTech: balancing paternalistic products and dopamine-driven loops, lessons from Credit Karma and A16z

  • 29’19”: The challenges of active and social-following copy investor platforms: examining the successes and shortcomings of companies like Covestor, Wealthfront, eToro, and M1 Finance

  • 31’26”: Evolving the investment thesis at Andreessen Horowitz: reflections on a journey shaped by COVID, Web 3.0, NFTs, and the rise of generative AI

  • 38’15”: The Future of FinTech: envisioning AI-integrated investment plugins and their potential role in Big Tech - insights from an Andreessen Horowitz GP

  • 40’35”: The Convergence of AI and Web 3.0: exploring the future of privacy, digital ownership, and personalized AI agents in the evolving technological landscape

  • 42’36”: Investing beyond the mainstream: uncovering under-the-radar opportunities in financial services and consumer sectors

  • 44’39”: The channels used to connect with Anish & learn more about A16z

Sneak Peek:

Anish Acharya:
…one interesting question is simply, what is a platform? And Ben has covered this from Stratechery. I like his definition, which is, it's a sort of system in which the economic value that is captured by participants is greater than the economic value that's captured by the sort of operator of the platform. I think that's an important definition because a lot of things are thrown about and represented as platforms these days.

A Framework for Regulating Competition on the Internet – Stratechery by Ben  Thompson

Ultimately, platform shifts rarely end up looking like the sort of prior shifts. I would argue that Web 2.0 was actually an important platform shift. It wasn't a 10X in terms of new technology. There was a new technology in paradigm that was introduced, but it was a sort of new model for how you deliver applications to the consumer. Consumers developed new mental models for how they can interact with these applications. It was the early days of social and a social overlay in these web apps.

Is generative AI the next platform shift? – Talia Goldberg

So, in a lot of ways, the platform shifts just always end up looking different than the prior shifts. I think when we try to be too tightly held in how we fit the patterns of the past shifts to the future shifts, we tend to get it wrong. And this is why I think a lot of the focus on AR/VR whether correct or incorrect, it just ended up being a little too on the nose after the mobile shift. Everyone was thinking, "Oh, there's going to be a new piece of it, hardware with a new app store, with a new monetization model, the new consumer interaction model." Maybe. Maybe. But if you look at what's happened with the Gen AI thing just in... I mean, it's been less than 12 months, things that we're seeing today that are becoming commonplace, perhaps you and I would've said were impossible or near impossible 12 months ago, it just felt like it came out of nowhere.

What Google Trends tells us about the three waves of AI development

I would argue that this platform shift feels important enough to potentially double GDP. It really does affect and impact everything at mobile scale at a minimum. So, I don't know that I agree that the platform shifts are becoming less impactful. And if you look at the sort of period of 2009, 2010, really to 2020, yes there are some new sort of product cycles of course with technologies like Web 3.0, but the major cycle that was playing out was the deployment and the sort of maturation of mobile. So, I would argue that we sort of were in a lull and now we're in this gestation period where…

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Fintech Blueprint 🤖🏦🧭
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