We were really excited to be able to hear from Don Butler at today’s #SocialCommerce Summit.  Don is the Managing Director of Thomvest Ventures, but his 20 year career spans a variety of roles with emerging growth technology companies.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Apsalar, Avalanche, Axcient, Kabbage, Milyoni, Netbase, and YottaMark.  Don’s past investments have included Cotendo (acquired by Akamai), FlashSoft (acquired by SanDisk), GuardianEdge (acquired by Symantec), and Okena (acquired by Cisco).  Before joining Thomvest, Don led the Asian business development efforts for several start-up companies in the software and networking industries as part of his work with Asia Pacific Ventures.

As you can tell from that history, Don has a pretty unique perspective on the future of the financial services industry.  He pointed out that over 54% of american households are banking online today – and that percentage is still on a rapid rise. In the last couple of years, online lending has begun to take hold in a mainstream way – but it’s the union of the two where Don sees real power in the future markets.

Don shared some mini-case studies for portfolio companies LendingClub and Kabbage – who’ve started to make waves in this space.  Both case studies are pretty thought-provoking … LendingClub in reducing personal debt, and Kabbage in securing loans for small businesses. The early success of both point to increased disintermediation in the financial services industry – which should lead to better options for both investors and consumers.