- TitleGeneral partner
- CompanyNew Enterprise Associates
In January, Visa helped jump-start the great fintech consolidation by announcing plans to acquire Plaid, a tech platform that enables apps to connect to users’ bank accounts, for $5.3 billion. Among the venture capital firms that saw starry returns from the tie-up? NEA. Within the firm, it was Rick Yang who won accolades for the bet. A principal at NEA in 2013, Yang invested in Plaid in its earliest days, eventually leading a Series A round that valued Plaid at a $35 million pre-money. While Plaid didn’t come without risk—it was launched by two first-time founders—Yang saw similarities in the company to Braintree, another NEA investment (and Venmo’s onetime parent company) that was later acquired by PayPal. It was the Plaid investment that helped propel Yang to a partner position in 2015 and in late 2019 to head of consumer technology. Aside from his bets on fintech (Yang invested in Robinhood and Opendoor), the investor has a deep interest in what he calls “next-generation media,” a category that includes gaming and online-learning platform MasterClass. Yang came under fire a couple of years ago for his role overseeing a sexual harassment investigation at one of NEA’s portfolio companies, with a lawsuit initially accusing him and the firm of “a cover up,” but NEA has since been dismissed as a defendant in the suit.