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Crunchbase Spotlight: Jillian Williams, Investment Principal, Anthemis

Crunchbase Spotlight is a series that celebrates diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship, venture capital, and tech by profiling people of color, women, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

Jillian Williams Crunchbase SpotlightSome people fall into venture capital. Others, like Jillian Williams, are destined for it.

Williams is an Investment Principal at Anthemis, a venture capital firm that invests in financial services companies around the world.

Like an athlete destined to be a superstar or a singer fated to be a global phenomenon, Williams was born to be an investor.

Groomed in New York

Growing up in New York, Williams was introduced to finance at a young age.

Her parents founded their own investment bank, which made finance a regular topic of conversation at the dinner table.

While most kids would check out as soon as their parents started talking about finance, Williams leaned in. She was captivated by the topic as her parents discussed their day-to-day at the bank.

It’s safe to say all those dinner table conversations made an impression on Williams. After graduating from The Dalton School, a college prep school in New York for students K-12, she made her way to Yale where she earned a degree in economics.

Next stop: the world of investing and banking.

From Barclays to Anthemis

After graduating from Yale, Williams joined the Investment Banking Division at Barclays – a multinational investment bank and financial services company.

In her role as an Investment Banking Analyst, her responsibilities included helping several companies with their IPO process, an opportunity she gravitated towards: “One of the things I liked most was working on IPOs. I really enjoyed going on the roadshows with the founders and just being part of the whole experience of a company going public.”

It was through her IPO work that the foundation for her transition to a venture capital career would be laid.

It all started when Williams and her team were in the process of pricing a financial technology (fintech) company ahead of its IPO. They found it challenging to come up with a market price that made sense because no one knew if fintech should have tech multiples or financial services multiples, which impacts the IPO price.

While they never settled on a price, it was a clear indication that the team needed to learn more about the fintech industry. This analysis was Williams’ opportunity to peel back the layers of the industry and learn as much as she could, which only fueled her growing interest in the space.

However, Williams quickly realized that she wanted a deeper relationship with the companies she worked with: “I wanted to be part of the founder journey and work closely with founders. That’s when I started exploring the venture capital space a lot more.”

With a growing fascination with fintech and interest in exploring venture capital, the stars aligned when she met the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anthemis, Amy Nauiokas. Coincidentally, Nauiokas is also a Barclays alumna.

With Anthemis being an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on investing in financial services companies, the fit was perfect for Williams. She would get an opportunity to invest in fintech companies and be part of their journey as they marched towards the coveted IPO.

In 2016, she joined the team and since has spearheaded the recent launch of the Female Innovators Lab in partnership with Barclays and has invested in companies such as:

  • Rally Rd – a New York-based fintech company that allows small investors to invest in rare collectibles and luxury cars
  • Flo – a water monitoring and shutoff system that proactively detects microleaks and other vulnerabilities anywhere in a home’s water system
  • Arthena – the first equity crowdfunding platform that gives individuals access to collect and invest with art world experts

The rest, as they say, is history.

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