Making the Mundane Sexy: How Intuit Turned SMB Bookkeeping and DIY taxes into Massive Business Lines

Dan Wernikoff rose to become an EVP at Intuit and general manager of its small business unit and consumer tax group. In both cases he scaled the business-within-a-business from small groups of early adopters to huge hordes of happy SMBs and consumers, by relentlessly measuring early indicators, leveraging core strengths, and focusing on long-term growth goals.

In this conversation with TCV General Partner Tim McAdam, he shares:

  • Lessons about how selling into SMB markets differs from enterprise
  • The best metrics for tracking success, and
  • Why empathy and understanding matter more than slick ads and sales techniques.

He also explains how to infuse human expertise into SaaS models in a way that fits the SMB/consumer mindset.

For these insights and more, settle back and press play.

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Dan Wernikoff is a Venture Partner at TCV.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified above, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this document, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Nubank raises USD 400 million in a new investment round led by TCV

  • The funding marks the largest investment round raised to date by Nubank 
  • Since the last funding in 2018, the firm’s customer base has more than doubled, reaching over 12 million people in Brazil
  • Nubank’s product portfolio has evolved, now including personal loans, a digital account with debit function for consumers and SMEs in addition to existing credit cards and its Rewards program
  • The company started its international expansion this year, in Mexico and Argentina
  • Nubank continues to pursue and hire talent for its four offices worldwide 

São Paulo, 26 July 2019 — Nubank, the leader in financial technology in Latin America, today announced it has raised $ 400 million in its Series F investment round. The round was led by TCV, one of the largest growth equity firms based in the U.S., and marks TCV’s first significant investment in Latin America. Existing investors Tencent, DST Global, Sequoia Capital, Dragoneer, Ribbit Capital, and Thrive Capital also participated in the round. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

With this new round, Nubank has raised $820 million in seven investment rounds.

Nubank, currently Brazil’s sixth-largest financial institution by number of clients, started its international expansion in May of this year. The company has opened offices in Mexico and Argentina and is preparing to start operations and serve customers in both countries over the coming months.

The firm also expanded its product portfolio beyond its original app-controlled credit card and Rewards products, now including a personal loan product and digital savings accounts for consumers, as well as small and medium-sized businesses and microentrepreneurs.

“We remain firm in our mission to fight complexity and give back to people the control of their finances. Even though the technological change has been transformational for most industries across the globe, most banked consumers continue to pay absurd interest rates and fees to receive very poor financial services in return. Additionally, over two billion people still do not have access to basic financial services. With this new investment by TCV and our existing investors, we expect to contribute to meaningfully change this situation by accelerating our growth in Brazil and supporting the launch of our new Latin American markets,” says David Vélez, founder and CEO of Nubank.

“We are proud of our shareholders and their continued support of our business. Since our early days, we have had the privilege of drawing from the experience of some of the most successful technology investors in the world, and this round led by TCV further strengthens our capital base”, continues Vélez. “TCV has supported some of the most remarkable disruptors of our time, including Netflix, Spotify, and Zillow, with capital, strategic guidance, and industry expertise, and we look forward to partnering with them as we grow the business.” 

“TCV has a long history of backing founder-run businesses that leverage technology to provide magical experiences to consumers,” says Woody Marshall, General Partner at TCV. “David Vélez and his team have built an impressive business at Nubank. We have been impressed by their market position, product-centric DNA and unrelenting focus on the consumer experience. We look forward to supporting their expansion into new markets and providing additional services to their consumers.” 

New products and internationalization

Nubank started offering debit and cash withdrawal functions to its digital savings account (“NuConta”) customers in late 2018, consolidating its digital account as a complete alternative to meet the basic financial needs of all Brazilians. Today, more than 8 million Brazilians are already customers of NuConta.

After completing the process to obtain its license as a financial institution, the company launched in early 2019 a personal loan product, which is now available to over 500,000 customers. Nubank reached 100% of the 5,570 Brazilian municipalities within 5 years of activity, a milestone in a country where only 60% of cities have bank branches.

In the second quarter of this year, the company also began its international expansion, announcing operations in Mexico and, less than two months later, in Argentina. The two countries will receive technology and innovation hubs to develop solutions focused on local financial problems.

In six years of existence, Nubank reached the mark of more than 12 million customers, becoming Brazil’s sixth-largest financial institution in number of customers, and the largest digital bank in the world. Recently, the company entered the corporate market with the announcement of a new digital account for SMEs, a market with more than 20 million companies in Brazil.

Search for talent

Nubank today has more than 1,700 employees in Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and Mexico. The company expects to significantly grow its employee base over the next few years. 

“We are always looking for the best talent in the world. We build strong and diverse teams with professionals from different cultures to jointly challenge the status quo and reduce complexity. We are a technology company by nature and, therefore, we want the best software engineers as part of our global team,” says Vélez.

Media contacts: 

Nubank

Rodrigo Barbosa

rodrigo.barbosa@nubank.com.br

+55 11 984 603 476

TCV

Katja Gagen

kgagen@tcv.com

+1 415 690 6689

About Nubank

Nubank is a leading financial technology company in Latin America. Its first product, launched in 2014, is a no-fee credit card that is fully managed by a mobile app. Almost 30 million people have requested the product since launch, and the company has passed the 12 million customer mark. In 2017, Nubank launched its proprietary loyalty rewards program (“Nubank Rewards”), as well as a digital account (“NuConta”) that is already used by 8 million people. This year, the company began testing its personal loan product and took its first steps in international expansion, opening offices in Mexico and Argentina. To date, Nubank has raised around US$ 820 million in seven equity investment rounds from TCV, Sequoia Capital, Kaszek Ventures, Tiger Global Management, QED, Founders Fund, DST Global, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, Thrive Capital and Tencent. Recently, Nubank was elected as the most innovative company in Latin America and ranked no. 36 on Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies ranking.

About TCV

Founded in 1995, TCV provides capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. Since its inception, TCV has invested over $11 billion in leading technology companies, including more than $1.5 billion in fintech, and has helped guide CEOs through more than 120 IPOs and strategic acquisitions. TCV’s investments include Airbnb, AxiomSL, Dollar Shave Club, ExactTarget, Expedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, OSIsoft, Payoneer, RELEX Solutions, Rent the Runway, Splunk, Spotify, Toast, WorldRemit, Xero, and Zillow. TCV is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with offices in New York and London. For more information about TCV, including a complete list of TCV investments, visit https://www.tcv.com/.


WorldRemit Raises $175m in Series D Funding

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading mobile payments company WorldRemit has entered into a definitive agreement to raise $175 million in a Series D funding round led by returning investors, TCV, Accel and Leapfrog Investments.

Founded in 2010, WorldRemit is a global leader in smartphone and online payments – providing a convenient, low-cost alternative to expensive brick-and-mortar agents.

WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $700 billion remittances sent each year by expatriates and migrant workers to their home countries. Today, the company serves almost 4 million customers transferring money from 50 “send” countries to 150 “receive” countries.

Breon Corcoran, Chief Executive Officer of WorldRemit, said: “For more than eight years our core purpose has been and continues to be to help migrants send money to their families, friends and communities. Our customers play a key role in the economies where they work and their remittances are important to their home countries.”

“Our mission is to help them transfer money as securely and speedily as possible while reducing the cost to our customers. We will grow our business through differentiation on speed, service, security and value.”

“The leadership team is grateful to our investors for their continued commitment to the business. The new money will help us to further develop the offering and we will launch a solution for small and medium-sized businesses.”

The Series D funding round comes at a pivotal stage in the company’s growth. In 2018, the USA became WorldRemit’s largest send market, following the company becoming one of the first UK financial service firms to secure licenses in all 50 states.

WorldRemit will use this new investment to further drive global growth and diversify the company’s product offering for both money transfer senders and recipients. The company is also set to launch a new money transfer solution targeting small and medium-sized business owners who trade internationally, especially in emerging markets. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including FCA approval.

TCV General Partner John Doran said: “Over the past eight years, Ismail and his founding team have built a fantastic business that offers customers a compelling solution and value proposition. Since passing the reins to Breon and the new management team last year, the business has continued to build on this platform and accelerated. We believe the opportunity and proposition is larger than ever.”

“In 2018, mobile and online payments to emerging markets reached a record high of $528 billion and we expect this number to increase. As WorldRemit handles a growing share of this market, we look forward to continue working with the company to scale its digital platform and expand its service to reach many new customers across the globe.”

Accel’s Harry Nelis said: “Having first partnered with the WorldRemit team in 2014, I have seen the company grow from a London-founded startup to a global business pioneering the future of the remittance market and making international mobile payments more accessible and affordable for millions of individuals and businesses. This investment and CEO Breon Corcoran’s experience leading consumer service-oriented, global digital businesses will help fuel the next phase of global growth. We are excited to deepen our relationship with the team and help them fulfil the company’s vast potential.”

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About WorldRemit

WorldRemit has disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transfers online – making them safer, faster and lower-cost. We currently send from 50 to 150 countries and operate in 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide.

On the sending side WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – early investors in Facebook, Netflix and Slack – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, UK with a global presence including offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

About Accel

Accel is a leading venture capital firm that partners with exceptional founders with unique insights, from inception through all phases of private company growth. Atlassian, Algolia, Avito, Celonis, Cloudera, Crowdstrike, Deliveroo, DJI, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Funding Circle, Kayak, Kry, QlikTech, Rovio, Slack, Spotify, Supercell, UIPath and WorldRemit are among the companies the firm has backed over the past 35+ years. The firm seeks to understand entrepreneurs as individuals, appreciate their originality and play to their strengths. Because greatness doesn’t have a stereotype. For more, visit www.accel.com, www.facebook.com/accel or www.twitter.com/accel.

About TCV

Founded in 1995, TCV provides capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. Since inception, TCV has invested over $11 billion in leading technology companies and has helped guide CEOs through more than 120 IPOs and strategic acquisitions. TCV has invested over $1 billion in Europe. TCV’s investments include Airbnb, Altiris, AxiomSL, Believe, Dollar Shave Club, EmbanetCompass, EtQ, ExactTarget, Expedia, Facebook, Fandango, GoDaddy, HomeAway, LinkedIn, Netflix, OSIsoft, RELEX Solutions, Rent the Runway, Sitecore, Splunk, Sportradar, Spotify, TourRadar, Varsity Tutors, WorldRemit and Zillow. TCV is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with offices in New York and London. For more information about TCV, including a complete list of TCV investments, visit https://www.tcv.com/.

Media contact: kgagen@tcv.com

About LeapFrog Investments

LeapFrog invests in extraordinary businesses in Africa and Asia. We partner with their leaders to achieve leaps of growth, profitability and impact. LeapFrog companies now operate across 33 markets reaching over 167 million people with financial services and healthcare. 135.9 million are low-income consumers often accessing insurance, savings, pensions, credit and healthcare for the first time. LeapFrog companies provide jobs and livelihoods to almost 124,000 people. These companies have grown on average by 39.2 per cent per annum since LeapFrog’s investment. LeapFrog was recently named by Fortune as one of the top five companies changing the world, the first private equity firm ever to be listed. www.leapfroginvest.com@leapfroginvest

Contacts

For more information:
WorldRemit
Jo Bancroft
media@worldremit.com


Banking Evolution & Revolution—Fireside Chat with Jacqueline (Jackie) Reses, Head of Square Capital, and David Yuan, GP at TCV

We believe that many SMB and vertical SaaS companies are starting to exhibit platform characteristics.  Some of these companies are beginning to build consumer and supplier networks that are expanding the SaaS model dramatically. 

We recently brought the pioneers of these new SaaS models together and were fortunate to have Jackie Reses share her thoughts on the emerging lending opportunity for SaaS. Witty, wise, and incredibly insightful, Jackie is a total superwoman. In addition to running Square Capital, Jackie serves on the board of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank and is a former board member of Alibaba. She also worked in private equity for 20 years.

Dave: Great to talk to you, Jackie! Is it true you started your career on the dark side, as an investor?

Jackie: Yes, I worked in private equity for 20 years. I just kept going forward. I had a mid-life crisis without the crisis, as I like to call it. I ran parts of a large private equity firm, but I much prefer being on the operating side. I still invest and that’s my fun side project. But I love working at Square. It’s a really fun place to be.

Dave: Square is certainly on a tear. Maybe we could start and just talk a little bit about that. Very few companies reach your scale, and then accelerate. But that’s what you’ve done at Square.

Jackie: Yeah, it’s exciting. We have driven strong revenue growth at scale since we went public.  It’s interesting to think back to when Square was starting with payments and building on that. That really was the catalyst for what we should build in an ecosystem in a very different way. Since then, we have built ancillary products around payments like point of sale, loyalty, employee engagement, lending, and payroll around an ecosystem.

Dave: You mentioned that every one of your products is an onboarding product. You don’t think of “land and then expand,” it’s all onboarding, it’s all “land”?

Jackie: Like lending we consider it to be a product that will onboard into Square. We have two parts of our lending business. One is the business lending, and that’s something we launched with Square sellers, and we extended it outside of Square in the United States.

And then we also have an Installments product which has been incredible. Installments is a consumer lending product that can have a customer pay for large purchases with installments, which provides the buyer with payment flexibility.

That said, I think about Square Capital first. My job is to grow Square Capital. That should stand on its own. The product itself has to be remarkable.

When we launch a new Square Capital product, we launch it because I think about all inbound customers into Square for lending and then create a cycle throughout our ecosystem to evolve as they learn about other products.

Dave: You talked about Square and the multiple product lines and high rate of self-onboarding. How core is self-serve to Square?

Jackie: It’s the way we start on every product. They have to be self-serve, elegant and fast as a means to make them remarkable. Driving your thought process around self-serve forces you to create simplicity and ease of use. 

Dave: You’ve described several different businesses that have arguably very different DNA. SMB, point of sale, consumer cash, credit, etc. How does that work in the same organization?

Jackie: I think lending is the one that everyone has the hardest time with. If anyone thinks that payments are regulated, lending is like 10x that.

Managing risk and the dynamics of a high-growth company are very different disciplines. I think that’s probably the hardest thing I deal with as an executive at Square. The dynamics of credit risk can really hurt sellers, and they can hurt us, and they can hurt our ecosystem of investors.

And so top line growth on a lending business is not the goal. I think you have to have a very different level of responsibility and a discipline that is almost the inverse to payments, where topline revenue growth can be the goal.  

You need to remain focused on what’s good for the end merchant. There are some lenders out there that have a goal of maximizing loan size. I think that’s irresponsible. We try to maximize a loan that helps sellers grow. That’s a very different mindset. We are also very fortunate that we don’t have channel or customer acquisition costs which helps us take a pretty responsible approach.

Dave:  Right. There is a real trade-off between growth, risk, and merchant health. How do you measure your success, what are the metrics you report on?

Jackie: It’s originations and different views of defaults. We could double our loans if we wanted to tomorrow. Yet, you double it at the loss of small businesses who can’t afford the debt that you’re giving up. The one limitation of credit is that there is a natural debt capacity of what these companies can afford based on their cash flows. And you’ve got to make sure you’re really good at how to predict that and then manage it so you’re not putting companies at risk.

Dave: Let’s talk about the risk side. Companies in an earlier phase want to learn. They want to train their algorithms. So in some ways having defaults is actually a data point to trigger. How do you get through that initial learning period?

Jackie: We do the same thing. Although I have to say that many refer to models which really aren’t machine learning models – the data set is too small to be driven off of machine learning. 

It’s hard to train models when you have a really narrow data set. Many lenders use basic heuristics to limit who they lend to.  That is not a machine learning model – its addition and subtraction in a ton of excel. 

Loan losses also can be instructive for model training, so you need to be willing to invest in your weakest credits in order to learn.  If you look at the public fintech lending companies, very few of them have actually been successful at long term customer acquisition and default profiling. It’s a hard, capital intense business and takes years to do. We think of lending as a platform to help our sellers grow.  The regulatory environment and the amount of capital required to do this is just really high.

Dave: What about payments data?

Jackie: The payments data is super useful but you have the fidelity of moment to moment transactional changes.  Matching risk, credit, behavioral and bank data together with payments is very powerful!

Additionally, for model training, its instructive to look at why sellers de-activate off of our system. Insights around business failure and fraud can also be a helpful part of the equation. 

Dave: You mentioned just how different being a lender is than the rest of Square and orientation around growth, versus risk management. How did you actually set it up so that it was able to perform this task culturally? Did you wall it off?

Jackie Reses: I thought about it every day. To be honest I think we’re very unique and lucky at Square because the way we are owned and run is with a long-term orientation, which most public companies are not.

Being focused on the long term, you can set up the ethos of what you need it to be. Because it’s the right answer for that kind of business long term. But we talk about it every day because it’s really easy to lend money, and it’s really hard to get it back.

And then the compliance is huge. I have everything documented in a way that’s profoundly non-tech. And that’s in a product that’s highly automated. We practically have a lean lending team. And then I have to have all these policies and reviews and committees. It’s the only product at Square that has a board committee.

We’re growing fast, but you got to be really strict about it and stand up if you see issues.

Dave: Let’s switch gears a little bit. I’d love to take advantage of your experience with Alibaba. The dynamics in China seem totally different.

Jackie: Totally different. QR code based, facial recognition based, sound based.

Dave: Do you think there’s a future state in China where you do have to worry about some sort of disaggregation or actually consolidation of the payment infrastructure?

Jackie: The dynamics in China are really different because there was an escrow system that existed 10 years ago in China because there were no logistics, and there was no trust. If you were going to order a package in China, you never knew whether you were going to get it, how you were going to get it, because neither system existed around credit and shipping. They just didn’t exist. And so the idea of an escrow system was the genesis of how Alipay got started. It really became a predominant payment rail. And it did so in an environment where it matched its sister company which controls 60 percent of the eCommerce in China. So those dynamics are really different than the dynamics that exist in the United States today, where the proliferation of credit options is extraordinary. In the U.S., there is no logistics issue with the way we think about freight and the multiple players. You can trust that if you send a package by FedEx it will actually show up.

All these dynamics of eCommerce that we take for granted in the United States are really the reason why there’s such a tight band of competition in China. I think WeChat is interesting. WeChat evolved after QQ started. Tencent built an unbelievable business and their second version of it has just been extraordinary because it’s become like a full utility app for everyone in China.

So now you have these two non-bank players in China competing with one another. Neither have really been able to get into the United States. I don’t know whether you noticed, but you’ll start to see Alipay showing up at a register. Go ask how many transactions have actually happened at that counter. There’s the notion of these Chinese tourists that are coming here but they use UnionPay.

That said, there’s not a lot of demand for it at this point in the United States. I think they’ll have a better time in Southeast Asia where they’re more connected and Japan, because they’ve got the Softbank connectivity that still owns a huge portion of Alibaba and Alipay. I just think it will be much harder in the United States.

David Yuan: Well Jackie, that was incredible! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your views.

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The statements, views, and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This interview is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies. For additional important disclaimers, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


TCV Promotes Nari Ansari to General Partner

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Nari Ansari to General Partner.

Nari joined TCV in 2006 and has played an integral role in the firm’s B2B investing practices and our collective efforts to accelerate growth at our portfolio companies. Since our inception in 1995, we have been committed to helping entrepreneurs become market leaders, and Nari’s deep understanding of technology, his connections with category leaders, and his ability to uncover exceptional opportunities and partner with talented management teams reflect the value the TCV team strives to bring to CEOs.

Nari Ansari

Nari focuses on investments in the software, fintech, healthcare IT, and tech/data-enabled services sectors. He currently serves on the board of directors at HireVue, OneSource Virtual, and Watermark and also works closely with Avalara (NYSE: AVLR), AxiomSLPayoneer, and Varsity Tutors. Prior investments include EmbanetCompass (acquired by Pearson) and Merkle (acquired by Dentsu). Before TCV, Nari was with McKinsey & Company in the San Francisco office, where he focused on assisting clients in the software, storage, and semiconductor sectors. Nari received his M.S. and B.S. in Management Science & Engineering (MS&E) from Stanford University’s School of Engineering.

We are delighted to acknowledge Nari’s outstanding contributions to the firm to date and we look forward to his continued success at TCV for many years to come. Congratulations to Nari on his promotion.

The General Partners of TCV

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The companies identified above are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit http://www.tcv.com/portfolio-list/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website.