The Fund Founder Spotlight Interview: Eric Cantor of Vincent
The Fund is a founder community and early stage fund, by founders for founders.
Welcome to the Founder Spotlight where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at The Fund. This week the spotlight is on Eric Cantor, CEO and co-founder of Vincent, a search and discovery engine for alternative asset investing, allowing investors unprecedented access to new opportunities and research.
“Where should I invest my money?” said EVERYONE. This is a question we all ask and more importantly, we all want answered. Lucky for us, co-founder and CEO Eric Cantor, along with co-founders Evan Cohen, Slava Rubin, and Ross Cohen, developed Vincent, a first-of-its-kind powerful search engine designed to help investors discover new, high-quality alternative investment opportunities. They aggregate thousands of investment offers from different platforms and by making it free to use, they’re really democratizing access to alternative investing.
Eric is no stranger to the startup life, as he’s a 5th-time founder with an insatiable appetite for learning and personal challenges (he’s done an impressive 12 triathlons!). He also spent 4 years in Kenya and Uganda, where he invested in innovative early-stage companies and established a mobile application lab with the region's top telecom company. He got inspired by the potential of financial technology to make a significant impact for individuals and considers the overall experience a huge building block for everything he’s done since. Eric has a personal passion for alternative investing and is enthusiastic about the idea of Vincent as an onramp for individual investors who want to explore opportunities. The name Vincent is of Latin origin and means "conquering/winning,” hearkening to "dollars and cents" and "incentives." So let's all “Vincent” our investment portfolios!
What is Vincent’s “Northstar''?
We want to give investors a clear path to learning, investing, and mastering their way to building awesome portfolios of "alts"!
How does your product inspire “customer love”?
We, as the founders of the company, are also on the same journey as our customers. We want to be high integrity, super transparent, and aligned with them. We take this big complicated journey that we're all navigating and break it down into semi-digestible chunks. And then we make sure it's also fun. You're investing in alts for a number of reasons. You want to make money in a diversified way with the lowest risk, you want to learn and grow as a person, and there's passion here as well.
Tell us about a recent milestone Vincent crushed.
We just raised a great financing with very aligned investors. But what I'm most pumped about right now is on the team-building side. We spec'd out a role (I won’t go into details because we haven’t announced the hire yet, so stay tuned). We had a critical position that we've been thinking about for a while and we patterned the job description on this particular person and said, “ahh, it would be amazing if we could hire someone like this,” and then we actually hired that person!
You’ve been a co-founder many times, what makes this journey different and what have you learned from your past experiences?
The main thing I've learned is that you have to love the customer first, second, and third, and you have to work with great people. Customers are really telling us what they want and expect, and their motivation to get into alts is really high. The team we have at Vincent is far and away the best team I've ever worked with, and I've worked with some really strong contributors in the past. I’m grateful we have a team who can get so much done. I’m also cognizant of the fact that we stay on the rails, because we can move really fast but we also have to move together.
Favorite startup focused podcast or book?
Our lead investor Jason has an impressive set of content vehicles - including The All-In Podcast. It’s industry insider stuff where you get the real goods. That one I've appreciated a lot. In terms of books, I don't like to go with the obvious 10 books that everyone tells you to read. A book I read a long time ago that had a great influence on me was, What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive. It’s more on the entrepreneurial side where you just have to make it happen - use your resources and scrappiness to move things forward. I go back to those lessons all the time.