Patricia Kemp, Oak HC/FT

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One of the things that makes payments technology such a vital market for investors is its role as a portal. And not just in the literal sense.

“It’s the infrastructure or support structure for so many other industries,” said Patricia Kemp, co-founder and managing partner of fintech for Oak HC/FT, a health care and fintech investment firm with offices in Greenwich, Boston and San Francisco and $1.9 billion in assets under management.

Kemp, one of PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments for 2020, has a diverse range of companies in her portfolio. It’s a mix that demonstrates how the payments industry has changed since 2014, when Oak HC/FT was founded. Kemp has helped back FastPay, Digital Currency Group, Poynt, Rapyd and Feedzai, among other firms. Oak HC/FT looks for firms it believes can wring out the inefficiencies that it sees in health care and fintech, two industries that are heavily regulated and rapidly automating.

Read more: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2020

On the fintech side of Oak HC/FT's portfolio, FastPay ties businesses to advertising agencies; Poynt builds app-based payment terminals that can quickly upgrade to meet changing business conditions; Rapyd has made inroads into Singapore’s hot digital payments market; and Feedzai has attracted clients such as Citigroup, which is using Feedzai’s AI technology for anti-money laundering and other security.

“There are so many payment companies that are really serving a purpose and doing quite well,” said Kemp.

The portfolio’s range addresses multiple businesses and use cases that all fall under the “payments” umbrella, but actually make the transaction part of a broader range of functions. That’s the fundamental evolution of the payment business, which has morphed from enabling transactions to become a path to enroll consumers, accrue and crunch data, forge a digital identity and provide security.

Patricia Kemp, co-founder and Managing Partner of fintech, Oak HC/FT
Patricia Kemp, co-founder and Managing Partner of fintech, Oak HC/FT

“Payments are part of the retail industry. It’s part of government. It’s part of health care,” said Kemp, who serves on the boards of Duedil, FastPay, Feedzai, Raypd, and Trov, among other firms, and is a board observer at Poynt. The proliferation of fintechs has boosted digital B2B payments, financial inclusion, and international payments; and has rapidly digitized several industries that had been largely paper-based and manual.

“With that comes fraud,” Kemp said, adding her firm is looking at security and data management as part of its investment strategy.

Another important area is the stresses currently placed on supply chains, and combining cross-border payment methods to address gaps in currencies, risk and processing. Since a large portion of the world still pays through local methods, there are big opportunities in enabling access to individual markets, according to Kemp.

Prior to joining Oak HC/FT, Kemp was a venture partner at Oak Investment Partners, which spun off Oak HC/FT in 2014. Kemp also held senior management posts at Cendant, where she was responsible at various times for marketing operations or general management of direct marketing for credit card affinity programs. Kemp has additionally worked for Hewlett Packard and Merrill Lynch.

“There are more women entrepreneurs and there are some more women investors, though there are still very few women,” Kemp said. “I think you just have to do your job.”

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Women in Payments