Podcast: Jake and Sheel on Venture Unlocked, Ep.100

Jake and Sheel on Investing in fintech, fund construction, and fundraising lessons

Podcast: Jake and Sheel on Venture Unlocked, Ep.100
Originally published by our friend, Samir Kaji, at Venture Unlocked here.

For our 100th episode, we are joined by the founders of Better Tomorrow Ventures, also known as BTVJake Gibson and Sheel Mohnot. BTV is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2019. BTV focuses on early investing in FinTech companies, and has $300M+ in AUM. Jake and Sheel initially met at 500 startups, where Sheel worked. They are both seasoned fintech founders and angel investors: Sheel built and sold two fintech companies before starting the 500 Fintech accelerator, and Jake co-founded NerdWallet (now publicly traded).

About Jake Gibson
Jake Gibson is a founding partner of Better Tomorrow Ventures. He has been involved in FinTech for over a decade — he started his journey as one of the co-founders of NerdWallet before becoming an angel investor. Today, he is a Founding Partner at Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV). Prior to NerdWallet, Jake studied math and quantitative finance at MIT and traded interest rate derivatives at JPMorgan.

About Sheel Mohnot
Sheel Mohnot is a founding partner of Better Tomorrow Ventures. Before BTV, Sheel was a Partner at 500 Startups, running the 500 FinTech Fund and the FinTech track within the San Francisco Accelerator program. His recent startup experience includes 2 successful FinTech exits – a payments company and a high-stakes auction company. He also created and hosted a podcast called The Pitch.

He formerly worked as a financial services consultant at BCG and did Microfinance work at the non-profit Kiva. Sheel holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Carnegie Mellon. 

In this episode, we discuss:

(02:24)  BTV’s origin story 
(06:27)  Handling their first raise at the beginning of the pandemic
(11:28)  How their fund construction remained the same despite market conditions
(17:27)  Surprises during their first fundraise
(19:29)  How Sheel and Jake view fund construction and ownership targets
(24:18)  The shift in the market from rewarding Beta to rewarding Alpha
(27:55)  How founders are reacting to market conditions
(29:28)  What they are seeing in the Series A markets today
(32:19)  How VC’s dry powder will actually get deployed
(34:53)  Making sense of the market segments in 2023
(37:53)  Why FinTech is still in the early-stages even though it has been heavily invested in
(42:15)  Non-obvious things that it takes to run a successful firm
(45:17)  Things they would have done differently at the start of their firm

Listen Here

Jake and Sheel are the Founding Partners of BTV, which also runs The Mint, the pre-seed program for fintech founders. They accept applications and introductions on a rolling basis. Pre-BTV, Jake was Co-Founder of NerdWallet, and Sheel was Co-Founder with successful exits from FeeFighters and Innovative Auctions.