Why I Joined (vs. Invested in) Rize — The Best Positioned Firm to Bring the Promise of Embedded Finance to Life

First — wow, the last 18 months have been crazy! Can I start there? Before diving into anything with respect to what I have been up to, BIG shout-out to my wife, toddlers, and dog for not getting sick of me yet. Like many of you, we’ve spent significantly more time under one roof during “working” and “living” hours than I ever anticipated. My family definitely got more than they bargained for!

Now, with respect to “working” –

Over most of the past decade, I have been incredibly fortunate to (1) work with awesome people, and (2) get involved in the early days of fintech. I certainly understand that fintech has existed for much longer than I’m representing, but the post-crisis boom where trends have aligned across consumer demand and technology (cloud, mobile, APIs, etc.) plus regulation is a 2010+ phenomenon. Route 66 Ventures provided an amazing platform for this chapter of my career to kick-off.

At the beginning of 2020, I started to get an itch to be more involved in the fintech industry at an operational level than what is possible as a VC, being spread across a portfolio of companies, sourcing new investment opportunities, and managing fund infrastructure requirements.

While my friends at Route 66 have continued to kick-ass, adding digital health & wellness to its focus areas, I left to form a vehicle to manage some personal investing and consult with B2B fintechs. This enabled me to find a small group of companies in the space to work with more intimately, which in turn led me to syncing up with Rize.

Beginning in 2015, sparked in part by our leading DriveWealth’s Series A (shout-out to that crew for its newly appointed unicorn status!) I became fascinated with what is now dubbed “embedded finance”. Much smarter minds have written at length about the embedded finance opportunity that is only just beginning to unfold. Just like the industries of communications and retail (and slowly but surely, healthcare), forward-looking fintech entrepreneurs are unlocking the ability to meet customers where they are with valuable customer experiences rather than repackaged products. It’s certainly not easy, especially if the idea is to:

  1. Start with the customer and work backwards to tap into completely different custodial/regulatory regimes (banking/brokerage/advisory/credit/etc.) that were never designed to truly work together

Like many of my peers, I dug into the burgeoning banking-as-a-service space in late 2019. While there are brilliant founders that have built awesome companies, I didn’t find any that solved both of the conditions above that were critical to how I viewed the future of infrastructure.

In Q2 of 2020, I reconnected with Justin Howell and Kirk Voltz, co-founders of Rize. I knew them for a few years in the DC fintech scene as having built an innovative B2C automated savings and investment platform. They had recently completed their pivot to B2B, as they realized what they built along the way was the most customer-centric platform for delivering financial products and services in the market. Combined with the fresh experience of actually being in prospective client’s shoes as a B2C, not only did they have an innovative solution for the market, they knew first-hand the pain points to solve for and had amassed an early team of experts that have a compliance management system built for fintech programs while not sacrificing the transparency and scalability needed for banking and custodial institutions.

Through one API and one contract, a client will have all of the tools at their disposal to, not only get to product parity with the leading neobanks of today, but also to build across other verticals to deliver first-in-market solutions that have never been built before (stay tuned for announcements in coming weeks and months!)

Taken together my personal itch for more in-depth operational involvement and the opportunity ahead for Rize left me eager to come on-board for sweat equity rather than just invest. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and it is just the beginning!

Read more about what makes Rize special here.

Reach out! One thing that will never change from my full-time VC days is I love to talk to smarter people than myself. Happy to share VC and startup war stories; having sat on both sides of the table in early-stage fintech land, while I certainly don’t have all of the right answers yet, I know A TON of wrong answers to avoid!

by: Dan Dall’Asta



Build Customer-Centric Financial Applications through one easy and flexible integration across multiple account types. https://rizefs.com/

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Build Customer-Centric Financial Applications through one easy and flexible integration across multiple account types. https://rizefs.com/