Ben Cukier has 24 years of experience in growth equity, corporate finance and management consulting, including 21 years in private equity. He has developed a keen understanding of the key players, regulatory environment and complexities of the financial services ecosystem and a passion for helping companies grow. Ben co-founded Centana in 2015, and currently sits on the boards of Centana portfolio companies Eventus Systems, Jumio and Sayari Labs, Zesty.ai and formerly at Alaia Capital (Acquired by Axio Group LLC) and Quantitative Brokers (Acquired by Deutsche Borse). Previously, Ben spent almost 16 years at FTV Capital, a $3.8 billion growth equity manager, where he was a partner, served on the management committee and led the financial services practice. At FTV Capital, Ben led or co-led 11 investments in, and sat on the boards of companies such as Aspire, Cloudmark, ETF Securities, IndexIQ, PowerShares and Velocity Shares. Before joining FTV Capital, Ben served on the telecommunications and media team at Madison Dearborn Partners in Chicago. Prior to that role, Ben was a consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York in its Corporate Finance practice. Ben received a BS in Finance and a BA in International Relations summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Ben Cukier, the Centana partner who led the investment, said that Striveworks had a clear advantage over these, in that the business itself is being run very well, a sign both of the operations of the company and what they’re achieving.
“They are at the scale where their growth rate, in the triple digits, is where most are when they are only at Series D. I got a look at their really efficient use of capital and was blown away. In 27 years of investing, I’ve only seen a couple of companies able to achieve that kind of scale without outside capital. It’s a rare occurrence. These are real customers, with seven-figure contracts, and with net retention numbers that would be the envy of a lot of other companies.”
You are going to see massive decumulation in the baby boomers that are retiring and pulling money out of their 401(k)s. That is not billions of dollars; that is $14 trillion over the next 10 years that is going to move. If you can capture even a small portion of that, that blows away what the robos have done today.
The real value resides in technologies or services that are underrated or undervalued within financial services - the overhyped of areas of fintech are actually NOT where the money should be going but into some of the more fundamentally important areas of the industry.