What Interests Us
Although the lifestyle and consumer industries have been profoundly changed by technology in almost every conceivable way, finance is a sector that is still very much stuck in the past. The fact that less than 1 percent of loans today are made online is a great indicator that financial transactions and money management in essence still work the same way they always have. Even though innovation in this sector is picking up, and we are proud to have backed many of the intrepid entrepreneurs who are leading the charge, it is still far from enough.
However, we are extraordinarily optimistic about future prospects and developments in FinTech. We envision the future of the financial sector to include the movement of consumers and business owners to mobile financial transactions, the ability of new market entrants to disrupt the status quo with their brands through the empowerment of decentralized banking, and the inevitable downfall of institutional legacy players in banking.
Over the past few years, our convictions have deepened. We have heavily invested in visionary entrepreneurs — hard-headed pragmatists who know exactly how to bring us into the future. But our goal isn’t to just write checks. We look at finance with a hunger for change and approach it with a desire to empower ambitious entrepreneurs with the knowledge and experience we’ve gained, especially from mistakes we’ve made along the way. When they succeed, they will be the new hegemonic financial institutions: the JP Morgans, Citibanks and Schwabs of tomorrow.
Lifestyle & Consumer Tech
In less than a decade, the methods that people use to communicate and interact with one another have fundamentally changed. At the same time, the convenience that businesses can provide for customers and the ways in which they can connect with them through technology have never been greater. These developments are only just beginning, and as they continue to progress, new markets and services arise every day as a result of the newfound capabilities that this technology allows us to have.
At Elysium, we invest in lifestyle applications, social media platforms, and B2C companies that are on the forefront of transforming the way we live our everyday lives. We support founders who believe their startups can bring positive value to the world by either making people’s lives easier or empowering them through technology. We have backed companies with immense innovative and disruptive potential that they’ve already begun to realize in a significant way. These include Telegram, which has one of the highest MAUs [ES12] for messaging apps; Flo Health, the number-one women’s health app in the United States and Latin America; and Prisma, winner of App of the Year on the Google Play Store and the App Store in both 2016 and 2017. However, just like these companies, we do not rest on our laurels but instead continue to look toward the future with an eagerness to help new innovators change the world.
As our society becomes increasingly dependent upon the internet and technology, the amount of data being generated by consumers, businesses, and the internet of things increases exponentially. AI and machine learning allow us to extrapolate meaning from this data, and the applications of what can be done by harnessing the powers of these capabilities are taking shape in some of the most exciting technological developments to date.
Elysium invests in AI and machine-learning technologies that have the potential to transform society. From bolstering security and social media with facial recognition to making our roads safer with autonomous driving and creating tailored, more enjoyable experiences online and on social media, Elysium supplies capital to startups pushing the frontier of what is possible with AI/machine-learning technology.
Elysium specializes in startups looking to expand their businesses by leveraging international markets. At an early stage, the fund sources promising founders in Europe and Asia and brings them to the US for accelerated growth. At a later stage, the firm supports the now mid- and late-stage companies in entering global markets for financing and expansion.
We have assembled a network of 20 seed and early-stage firms with more than 1,000 active investments across their portfolios, which include listed companies such as Uber, Google, and Pinterest. Our VC partners are concentrated in California and are also well represented in Asia and Europe.