10,000 subscribers later, This Week in Fintech has a venture fund


Image Credits: Founder Nik Milanović / The Fintech Fund

If you keep up with financial technology, you likely know that the fintech community is a tight-knit, large (yet small) group of enthusiasts that includes all sorts of people — from founders, to investors, to fintech-focused employees at startups or large companies to journalists like me.

Over the years, a few players have emerged with a special kind of knowledge and expertise in the space. Nik Milanović has been publishing a newsletter called “This Week in Fintech” for the past two and a half years, growing its subscriber base to north of 10,000. He also spent the past two years at Google, heading up business development and strategy for Google Pay as well as serving as a mentor through Techstars. All the while, Milanović has not only been an integral member of the growing global fintech community, he has helped build and grow it. In addition to publishing the newsletter, Milanović sponsors meetups all across the globe (from Mexico City to Lagos, Nigeria) so that thousands of fellow “fintech friends” — as he calls them — can network and get to know each other.

Inclusion has played a big role in Milanović’s fintech aspirations. During his time at Stanford University, he was a researcher at the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. (Full disclosure, he has written for TechCrunch as a contributor on topics such as “Build products that improve the lives of inmates.”) 

While Milanović has invested as an angel in recent years, he is now taking the plunge to full-time investing with a new early-stage fund called simply “The Fintech Fund” with the tagline  of “by fintech people, for fintech people.” His goal is to raise $10 million for the new fund (of which he has so far brought in $4 million), and already it has a diverse group of LPs, including Better Tomorrow Ventures’ Sheel Mohnot and Jake Gibson; Cowboy Ventures’ Jillian Williams; Sriram Krishnan, founder of Angel Collective Opportunity Fund; Bain Capital Ventures and founders such as NerdWallet co-founder Jake Gibson,’s Stephany Kirkpatrick and The Block’s Mike Dudas.

Better Tomorrow Ventures’ Mohnot told TechCrunch that he “loves” the global community that Milanović is building, especially since he believes that “community is an incredibly powerful lever for startups.” 

“Nik sees the world similarly to us at BTV; there is an incredible global opportunity that others aren’t seeing,” he said. “We wanted to support Nik in part because we like him, in part because he will be successful and in part because we think we’ll get to see great companies by working closer with him.”

Image Credits: Lagos, Nigeria meetup / The Fintech Fund

The Fintech Fund is investing at the pre-seed and seed stages, and so far has backed 10 companies, including Goldfinch, 3Box, Ponto and Paysail.

“The goal is to make this kind of a community fund, rather than an undifferentiated out-of-the box venture fund,” Milanović said. “Our focus is to give the people and institutions working deeply in fintech a way to reinvest in the fintech ecosystem.”

The Fintech Fund also has a 120-person fintech syndicate, where all members are fintech operators or founders. The fund gives members of the syndicate the opportunity to double-down on the fund’s investments with the founders “they really want to support,” Milanović said.

The new fund is also holding itself to a quantitative commitment to inclusion for its founders and syndicate. For founders, it has an explicit target of over 25% or more of its dollars and total number of investments going to founders from underrepresented backgrounds. For the syndicate, Milanović does not plan to set a quota or target, but is measuring the composition of the syndicate and fund LP base on a quarterly basis (via a survey) in an effort to continuously ensure representation and inclusion.

If founders are looking for hands-on investors, they’ll find it in The Fintech Fund, Milanović said.

“There’s a lot of ETFs that will write large checks,” Milanović said. “But our goal is to really bring together this whole community — and that’s newsletter readers, investors in the fund, our angel syndicate — so that when the founder gets a check out of The Fintech Fund, it’s not just money but also a ton of consulting or referrals to new hires and to new customers.”

True to his background, Milanović will continue to provide resources to founders through his newsletter and events because he believes investing in a company’s success should be about more than the money. 

“This community can help you decide between two vendors you’re considering or make a referral for like a head of product that you’re looking to hire,” he told TechCrunch. “I think for an early-stage founder, that really makes a huge difference.”

Portfolio company Paysail founders Liam Burke and Nicole Alonso said they have been impressed with Milanović’s “extensive fintech background and understanding of the landscape” since their first meeting with him. The company, which leverages stablecoins to enable instant, global B2B invoicing and payments, recently raised a $4 million seed round led by Uncork Capital that included participation from The Fintech Fund.

The berserk pace of fintech investing outshines the global VC boom

“We are also excited by the breadth and diversity of experience the fund’s LPs bring to the table and look forward to tapping into the support they provide to founders, including advisory work, domain expertise, and access to their vast network,” the pair wrote via email.

To Mohnot’s point, Milanović said the VCs that are opting to be LPs in this fund clearly don’t view it as direct competition. 

“We want to focus on collaboration,” he said. “Some people view other successful people as competitors with a mentality like ‘I win because I’m best or other people can’t.’”

But Milanović doesn’t subscribe to that philosophy.

“I believe we can all win together as a network and I view this fund as a way for everybody working in fintech to win together,” he said. “And so for me, it was a no-brainer to bring these funds along as LPs and it’s a no-brainer to find people who might be competitors and figure out where to collaborate with them because I think we can collaborate and build things that are way better than the things that we build when we compete.”

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo