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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

Barefoot Innovation Podcast

Filtering by Tag: Venture Capital

Insure-Tech : QED Founding Partner Caribou Honig

Jo Ann Barefoot

Today we have our first-ever episode on Insure-tech. Happily, it also turned out to be one of the most fun, funny and thought-provoking shows we've ever done. I'm pretty sure it's the first one where we've talked about the internet of things, and CRISPR gene research, transportation as a service, and drones.

My fascinating guest is Caribou Honig, founding partner of QED Investors.

QED is a venture fund cofounded by Caribou, Frank Rotman, and Nigel Morris, who first came together in the early days of Capital One. They have helped launch some great fintech companies - for instance LendUp and DriveFactor. Caribou's investments span an array of marketing, payments, and insurance technology companies, particularly where B2C customer acquisition drives the business success. He developed a passion for data-driven marketing when he led key marketing initiatives at Capital One, including responsibility for a $50 mm marketing budget, managing a 200-person underwriting operation, and cracking the code on digital credit card originations. Recent investments led by Caribou include, Remitly, TheMuse, and KNIP.  He also serves on the Advisory Council for the CFSI Financial Solutions Lab.

As you'll hear in our conversation, moreover, he's a Renaissance man. He holds a bachelor's degree in Physics and Philosophy from Harvard University, an MBA from the Darden School of Business, and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife have two children and, what he describes as two occasionally annoying dogs. Over the years He's taken time off to be Mr. Mom and to listen to the universe, as he puts it. And of course, he has an interesting name, which he'll explain in our discussion.

I reached out to Caribou because I knew he was working in Insure-Tech, which has been on a slower track than other kinds of fintech but is starting to gain real traction. Caribou is Chairman of the InsureTech Connect, a new conference that's scheduled for October 5-6 in Las Vegas.

I found our conversation incredibly interesting, especially in how insurance is being transformed by types of technology that have nothing to do with finance -- because its product is usually about managing risks in the physical world ranging from health to roofing materials to self-driving cars.

As it turned out, about half of our talk is on insurance, and half is on his broader thoughts oninnovation, and also on regulation. He really sparked my own thinking on some of the tough regulatory issues, like how to resolve the conflicts between alternative data and fair lending disparate impact, and the pros and cons of state-based regulation, and his advice to regulators.

Plus I'm stilling thinking about "parametric insurance" - skipping the adjudication process and agreeing in advance to let outside parameters - big data - determine the appropriate claim. New ideas, everywhere!

Finally, for all you innovators in the audience, note that Caribou shares an open invitation to bring him interesting ideas.  I know you'll enjoy hearing him.

Vote for my SXSW Panel!

Also, remember to vote to help get my Regulation Innovation panel selected for SXSW 2017 - it's at My panelists will be Simple's Josh Reich, Adrienne Harris of the White House, and CFSI's CEO, Jennifer Tescher. We need your vote - voting is only open to  September 2. And please plan to come to SX in Austin.

Support Barefoot Innovation!

Don't forget to send in your buck-a-show to support Barefoot Innovation -- and leave a review on ITunes.

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Upcoming Shows

Finally, come back next time. We have fantastic guests coming up, including Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center, Sam Hodges of Funding Circle, Colin Walsh of Varo, and Harvard professor Brigitte Madrian.

See you soon!

Episode 3 - Arjan Schutte of Core Innovation Capital on Venture Capital in FinTech

Jo Ann Barefoot


Arjan Schutte (pronounced Ar-yon Shoot-eh) is Founder and Managing Partner at Core Innovation Capital  in Los Angeles.

Core is a double-bottom line venture capital company seeding innovation that both helps consumers and wins in the marketplace, with the ability to reach huge scale.  Listeners will discover several kinds of value in his insights. 

One is an overview of the fintech innovation landscape – what are the exciting things happening?  VC firms enjoy a unique vantage point, since their funding makes nearly every innovator seek them out. They see it all.

Another insight to glean from our talk is that many of these startups are taking aim at perceived vulnerabilities of traditional financial companies – the industry’s Achilles’ heels.  Some innovators think many customers are not happy today, or at least can be lured away with a vastly better customer experience. Some believe millions of potentially high-profit customers are being neglected by the mainstream system, or are accessing it only through high-cost products that can be replaced. These startups are working on cutting delivery costs, reimagining the customer experience, using big data to invent powerful new risk analytics, using behavioral science to engage customers in new ways, empowering consumers with new tools, leveraging mobile to reach massive new markets, and much more. Many are making impressive headway. For those wanting to understand the fintech innovation realm, this is a quick primer.

Core’s companies include:


In addition, L2C has exited.

Notice the broad range of business types.  Core tries to have at least one company in each arena that’s important to consumers, from affordable lending and personal financial management to digital currency.

In our conversation, Arjan talks about the unlikely journey that brought him to this work, Core’s launch as a bold initiative of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and the firm’s strategy.  He zeros in on the incredible opportunity around mobile services closing the “digital divide.” And he laments the minuscule impact of 40 years of well-meaning but small-scale community development lending, laying out a big vision for how to measure Core’s impact as it seeks to change the lives of millions of people. 

The key is to make it very profitable to do right by them.

Enjoy the show!

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