Nyca Partners, a fintech-focused venture capital firm based in New York, is promoting two of its team members as its portfolio companies scale quickly.
The firm, which was founded by former Citigroup banker Hans Morris in 2014, confirmed to FinLedger that it promoted two team members, including Jeremy Solomon to partner and Sol Lee to principal. Their backgrounds offer clues about what Nyca is preparing for as portfolio companies grow and the industry moves toward platform-based financial services solutions.
“It’s indicative of the need to have that operating expertise on a daily basis, interacting with the companies, assessing the complexities of the various opportunities that we face,” said Solomon. “Traditional venture capital is a very competitive sport right now.”
Nyca focuses on areas that include payments, digital advice, alternative credit and financial infrastructure. Its portfolio – which includes more than 75 companies including Blend, Jiko, SigFig, Digit and Embroker – reads like a who’s who of major players in its fields of focus. A couple of Nyca portfolio firms made news recently, including Payoneer, which this month announced it’s going public via SPAC, and Affirm, which went public in January.
Solomon, who joined the firm last year as principal, is co-founder of portfolio company Aven, which offers a credit card that uses the rates of a home equity line. He held senior roles at Affirm, SoFi and LendingClub, and began his career at Lehman Brothers and as a corporate development team member at Deutsche Bank. Solomon’s work at Nyca led to investments in commercial real estate lending platform Blooma and Railz, which offers APIs for accounting data.
Lee, who joined Nyca in 2017, comes from a payments background, having worked on the payments team at Uber and on the strategy and analytics team at Mastercard. She also has been involved in many of the firm’s investments, including Smartrr (subscription commerce), Savi (student loan forgiveness), FinLync (treasury & real-time payments), and Ethic (ESG investing).
“Five years ago, it was pretty much you either build it yourself or you partner with a bank, but now I think what’s pretty exciting is this evolution of embedded financial services or embedded fintech,” she said. “Having seen the evolution of Uber as a ride-sharing company but also as a payments and financial services company both on the inside and out – that’s probably the most relevant [example].”
Lee and Solomon noted that Nyca, through its team and limited partners, is at a stage where it’s able to support companies at various phases of evolution.
“We have individuals who have expertise at a lot of stages of growth,” said Solomon. “I’ve twiced helped start a company, and know the pain that you go through in those early days, but I’ve also been part of several businesses that have scaled quite a bit.”
Like other venture capital firms, the pandemic has moved much of Nyca’s dealmaking and deal prospecting to Zoom, which is a mixed blessing for the team.
“I think it’s gotten more efficient in terms of the total volume and amount of companies that we’re meeting [but] when we’re conducting due diligence, we definitely have to be raising the bar in terms of learning about a company,” said Lee. “I’m excited to see how we go back to the norm, and meet people in person and shake hands.”
Nyca’s assets under management, including special-purpose vehicles, stands at $505 million.