In addition to the $100 million already set aside, the fintech venture capital fund has secured a further $100 million for investment from Santander Group in order to obtain minority stakes in fintech startups. The Group has shown real signs of commitment to innovation recently with news of Blythe Masters being hired as a fintech and blockchain adviser last week and this is just a cog in a wheel of other things Santander, as well as Santander InnoVentures, has done for fintech.
With uncertainty around the future of UK fintech and London’s status as fintech centre of the world, investments such as these are important. Ana Botín, group executive chairman of Banco Santander, highlighted that this investment will be positive for the country and in turn, the capital. “The fund’s base in the UK has allowed it to benefit from London’s position as a fintech hub, while talent-spotting our investments on a global basis. Santander remains committed to the UK and excited about its fintech enterprises.”
Santander InnoVentures is a strategic investor that helps Banco Santander find solutions that it can incorporate and invests in Latin America, Continental Europe, Israel, the UK and the US. Their successful portfolio includes big players such as Ripple, Digital Asset Holdings, iZettle and Kabbage. In conversation with Santander InnoVentures leader, Mariano Belinky, he advised that it is not about finding the magic fintech unicorns, building a sustainable business is most important.
On the second investment, Belinky explored how it will aid innovation in different and newer technologies. “This commitment allows the fund to continue expanding the work we are doing across geographies and investment themes. It will help us expand our portfolio to exciting geographies like Latin America and explore more opportunities across Europe. It will also allow us to explore new and exciting themes around artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing, digital banking and others that allow us to further improve Santander’s value proposition to its customers.”
It was announced earlier this year that the bank was the first to introduce Ripple’s blockchain technology in order to provide the ability to make international payments on their new application. With the connection to Apple Pay and the biometric capability of Touch ID, Santander is definitely taking advantage of blockchain in order to improve cross border payments. “The need for finance has evolved from providing a physical pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a tll, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle,” head of customer and innovation at Santander, Sigga Sigurdardottir said.
Building on the bank’s Fintech 2.0 mission to collaborate and innovate, the $200 million total investment will be the core of their strategy, as senior executive vice president and head of innovation at Santander, Peter Jackson said. “Our $200 million total investment, demonstrates the group’s commitment to innovation, and to the role of InnoVentures as a catalyst for transformation, by finding and partnering with technology companies that allows us to bring the next generation of services to our customers, globally.”