New Venture Studio Recruits Advisory Board of Industry Leaders and Secures Seed Funding from Private Equity Firm Virgo Capital
By DWN Staff -December 15, 2022
Wealthtech leader Sid Yenamandra has launched Surge Ventures, a SaaS venture studio that focused on launching businesses at the intersection of the wealth management industry and the future of data.
The new firm seeks to develop groundbreaking companies that solve for data governance, data privacy and data integrity-related emerging compliance risks for wealth management firms. This includes advisor data governance, client privacy obligations management, user entitlement management and holistic Personally Identifiable Information (PII) posture assessments.
The Austin, Texas-based private equity firm Virgo Capital provided seed funding of $10 million, according to a press release shared with Digital Wealth News. Virgo Capital, which invests mainly in software and technology-enabled services companies, has made 11 platform investments since its 2005 launch in addition to several acquisitions through its portfolio companies.
Multiple Data-Related Start-Ups with Shared Services Backbone
“As the wealthtech and financial services industry adopts more technologies based in data and AI and is dealing with an increase in recent data-related enforcement actions from regulators, we identified a serious product innovation gap in the market and a lack of new technologies coming from established tech providers to proactively address data compliance risks unique to this industry,” Yenamandra said in the press release.
Yenamandra’s new venture studio plans to cultivate multiple software startups by providing them with solutions such as a “shared services” infrastructure, scalable operations, foundational technology, demand generation, corporate finance and enterprise sales support.
Its proprietary “Surge Method” strives to quickly test business ideas, identify product-market-fit, track growth, and pinpoint the most promising products and solutions, according to the press release.
Advisory Board of Industry Leaders
In past interviews with Digital Wealth News, Yenamandra has noted that tech entrepreneurs with promising solutions but who are new to the wealth management industry tend to face face two barriers to entry: First, adapting technology solutions so they are ready for rapid rollout for a heavily regulated industry with very particular needs can present a steep learning curve.
And second, the extremely relationship-driven nature of wealth management platforms can be a major hurdle even for entrepreneurs with an “industry ready” offering. Building trust and familiarity with the decision-makers at large wealth management firms can take many months.
It would appear that Surge Ventures is well-positioned to support tech entrepreneurs on both of these fronts. In addition to Yenamandra’s past experience in bringing wealthtech solutions to market, Surge Ventures has also recruited an Advisory Board of wealth sector leaders who are among the most well-connected professionals in the space.
As part of its launch, the venture studio also announced the formation of a five-member Advisory Board with extensive experience in fintech and wealth management. The board members consist of Jason Lish, Chief Security Officer, Lumen Technologies; Larry Roth, Managing Partner of RLR Strategic Partners (an affiliate of Berkshire Global Advisors); Matthew Martin, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at LPL Financial; and Geoff Moore, Chief Information Officer at Valmark Financial Group.
Roth, a widely-recognized board director, strategic advisor and M&A investment banker for C-suite teams and boards across the wealth management space, is also the former CEO of AIG Advisor Group (now Advisor Group) and the former CEO of Cetera Financial Group, two of the largest independent wealth management firms in the country. Lish previously served as Chief Information Security Officer at Advisor Group.
Past Results and Future Performance
Yenamandra is no stranger to launching, scaling and selling wealthtech businesses. In 2011, Yenamandra founded the award-winning cybersecurity compliance software and solutions provider Entreda. In 2020, it was acquired by the private equity firm K1 Investment Management and Smarsh, a digital communications regtech provider serving organizations that include U.S.-based wealth management firms and large global banks.
Prior to the acquisition, Entreda was the top provider of cybersecurity compliance software by market share to financial services and wealth management firms, according to the press release. Its clients included well-known broker-dealers such as Advisor Group, LPL Financial and Kestra. In July, Entreda was selected to handle cybersecurity for Private Advisor Group, which oversees more than $30 billion in client assets.
Yenamandra notes in Surge Ventures’ press release, “Whether it’s helping to design a high-quality product for the wealth management space on an accelerated ‘go-to-market’ timeframe, or recruiting the co-founders and executive team, or making first client introductions, we believe Surge Ventures is filling a major void in the venture investment and wealth landscape today.”
Original Article: https://dwealth.news/2022/12/wealthtech-leader-sid-yenamandra-forms-surge-ventures/