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Different Strokes For Different VCs

In one of the most future-forward discussions at this year’s Benzinga Fintech Summit, top VCs delved into what applications of machine learning and A.I. seed stage investors are most excited about funding.

The “Different Strokes For Different VCs” panel was moderated by Broadhaven Capital Partners investor Michael Sidgemore and included 25-year VC veteran Dixon Doll, Founder of DCM Ventures and Impact Venture Capital. Dixon noted that, in the realm of A.I., there is a lot of opportunity for agile young companies to move in on territory currently held by Shibboleths like International Business Machines Corp. IBM 9.77%.

“There’s a lot of room for startups to go in here and pick off some of the lower-hanging fruit and build some very unique applications that use this data that we are in a position to get now,” Doll said.

The panel even got heated in some moments, such as in an exchange between Tess Hatch, investor with Bessemer Venture Partners, and Gene Munster, co-founder of Loup Ventures.

Hatch said she’s extremely interested in companies that offered specialized data that can then be sold to larger financial firms.

“What I find really exciting,” said Hatch, “is taking an application, whether it is artificial intelligence whether it’s blockchain, and then training it to a specific case scenario.”

Munster, on the other hand, believes small A.I. and data companies that are able to leverage their unique applications into partnerships and, eventually, acquisitions from the large financial institutions.

“What we think is going to happen is that the arms supplier to all those institutions, that model probably won’t work because they’re going to want different performance,” Munster said. “They’re not going to want to work with an underlying intelligence everybody else uses.”

Completing the panel was Dan Kimerling, founder and partner Deciens Capital. Kimerling described his role in the VC world as an “antagonist.”

Kimerling keyed-in on the two major opportunities available for angel and seed stage investors. He said, “I think there are broadly speaking two categories the first is institutions that are trying to disrupt financial institutions. Then there is the counterpoint to that, tools to help the institutions fight back.”

You can watch the full 26-minute debate here: https://www.benzinga.com/fintech/17/10/10187940/video-different-strokes-for-different-vcs

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