Meet the investor: Luke Kornack

Luke Kornack is an investor in B Capital’s San Francisco office.

What investing areas do you focus on?

I work across all of the firms practice areas, with specific focus on FinTech. Ever since diving into the FinTech ecosystem a few years ago I have been hooked, working with companies that directly impact our everyday lives behind the scenes. Over the past decade there has been a surge of FinTech startups looking to upend incumbent legacy competitors that are known for outdated UX and archaic processes. In Q2 2020 the FinTech market saw over $9.1B in financing volume making it one of the most well-funded sectors in the private markets. The FinTech market has also seen a major push around financial inclusion where companies like Branch, a B Capital portfolio company, are helping under-served individuals access credit by using nontraditional underwriting practices.

If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?

Growing up I wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department. I was originally turned on to the idea of foreign service after studying the actions of Benjamin Franklin during the Revolutionary War and Henry Kissinger’s delicate dance through the Cold War. Representing the U.S. to the rest of the world while also digesting immense information and new ideas from other countries requires skills akin to venture capital. The venture ecosystem is built on a set of “state-like actors” who cross-pollinate ideas every day in an effort to help grow their portfolio companies, as well as the markets they serve.

What attracted you to venture investing?

I was attracted by the constant learning required and the idea that the top is never reached. There will always be new complex problems, markets being overturned, and leaders creating new paths forward. You have to be continuously researching and interacting with your peers to stay up to date; the consistent energy of the industry is very unique and is a key reason to why I wanted to join.

What’s something that you always look for in a pitch?

I always like to hear the founders story behind what pain point in market made them create their product(s). Founders will often validate the need for their product(s) due to having lived through the problem while working in a given market. Some founders take a different approach and actively search out the problems in market, working with customers to tweak the product(s) to fit market demand. No matter where founders start, it is critical for investors to understand the “why?” early on in a pitch to help us get a fundamental understanding of the need for the product(s).

What do you look for in a founder or executive team?

I look for a founder that has identified KPIs for their business and tracks them diligently. Having a set of KPIs to track allows founders to understand which areas of their business are performing/under-performing on a more granular time-frame (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). Tracking KPIs enables founders to create levers more efficiently, tweaking a company’s growth trajectory in a low-risk environment.

What’s something many people may not know about you?

When I am not working with founders, scanning markets or doing diligence you will likely find me outside either biking, surfing, skiing, sailing or doing just about any activity on the move. I use my time outside as a way to clear my mind and set objectives for the days, weeks or months ahead. I believe self-care and getting outside, especially during a pandemic, is very important to keep your mind/body running at full steam. We have found ourselves stuck inside and connected for longer periods of time, disconnected from where humans are naturally meant to be. Reach out if you want to talk about venture capital, FinTech or just about anything while being in the woods or water!

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn today!

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FinTech| Payments & Treasury Management | Global Marketing & Communications

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Darren Thang

FinTech| Payments & Treasury Management | Global Marketing & Communications