3 Questions with David Beazley of Purple Arch Ventures

David Beazley

FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions With”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to David Beazley, Founder & Managing Partner of Purple Arch Ventures, a community of Northwestern University alums who, through a committed annual fund, invest capital in seed, growth and later-stage companies with a Northwestern connection.

(Publisher’s Note – Cindy Taylor is a proud Northwestern alum – Go Cats!)

NAME:  David Beazley
TITLE:  Founder & Managing Partner    
COMPANY: 
Purple Arch Ventures         
WEB ADDRESS:  www.purplearchventures.com

Purple Arch Ventures is a community of Northwestern University alums who, through a committed annual fund, invest capital in seed, growth and later-stage companies with a Northwestern connection.

What is your role within your firm and what do you do there on any given day?

As the Founder and Managing Partner of the firm, I try to advance all our initiatives every day with a focus on creating value in our venture portfolio.  This means tapping our best resource, our brilliant and engaged alumni community advocating for the fund.  This community, which is comprised of our investors, advisors, ambassadors, fellows and newsletter subscribers, has deep domain expertise in all the areas we’re interested in deploying capital, including, but not limited to cloud services, cyber security, ed tech, ag tech, IoT, big data, B-to-B Saas, AI/machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, mobility, clean tech, green tech, ecommerce, social commerce, innovative consumer goods, biotech, healthcare IT and of course financial technologies.

My main function every day is to manage this community.  Not only do the alums provide us our foundation capital and limited partner base, but also direct entrepreneurs in their networks to submit to our entrepreneurs’ portal for investment consideration.  We’ve had more than 150 submissions in less than four months, including multiple submissions in financial technologies.  And we’re looking for more.  To make 20-25 investments over the next 12-15 months and build a great portfolio, we will likely need to review and assess more than 30 different companies per month over the next year

What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?

We are keeping an eye on areas previously dominated by traditional retail banks:  payment processing, money transfers and lending.  Threats to incumbent banks will intensify as pioneers like Stripe, Avant Credit, SoFi and crypto currencies like BitCoin capture market share, and continue to gain favor with a younger generation highly skeptical of Wall Street.

In general banks have an antiquated business model supported by clunky software that should be viewed as a major liability.  If they are unable to self-disrupt and create a transformational digital platform that focuses on the desires of the end user, they will become the next Taxi to Uber.  They need to focus on millennials, who were brought up in a world of connectivity and social engagement, who crave the elegance of simplicity and always seek the best price.  Banks that have giant overhead with big, beautiful buildings, high rent, high fees and a top-heavy organization will fail, leaving room for the scrappy startups eager to provide these services in a freemium model set up to capture those customers.

What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?

For years I have been an observer of blockchain technology, and its potential as an alternative to currency.  Blockchain may decrease the cost and complexity of financial markets, increase access to financial services, improve transparency and regulation, and disintermediate central banks and other “trusted” third parties.  Blockchain has the advantage of faster transactions, process integrity, lower cost, immutability and ecosystem simplification.

Our focus at Purple Arch will be the acquisition of tokens.  A token allows a holder to reserve a product or service before its completed, while also giving that holder a stake in the future of that product or service.   If the product or service gains in popularity, the token will rise in price.  Tokens can be acquired at the time of issuance in an Initial Coin Offering (“ICO”) or later, like with initial public offering (“IPO”) stocks through the secondary market.
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David Beazley has played a leading role in virtually every aspect of the venture capital investment cycle – structuring transactions as a fundless sponsor, improving operations as a consultant, leading management teams as a CEO, evaluating opportunities as a direct investor and family office advisor, and selling companies as a licensed business broker. He is currently the Managing Partner of Purple Arch Ventures, a venture capital fund serving Northwestern Alumni and Entrepreneurs