- Spanish bank’s London-based fund takes stakes in startups
- BBVA, UniCredit among southern European banks funding fintech
Ana Botin, the chairman of Banco Santander SA, is doubling the lender’s bet on fintech.
Spain’s biggest bank said Monday that it was boosting its investment in Santander InnoVentures, its London-based financial technology fund, to $200 million from $100 million. The fund takes minority stakes in promising startups, aiming to incorporate innovative technology in its banking operations.
"A deeper investment in our fintech fund will help our transformation towards being the best bank for our customers," Botin said in a statement.
Global lenders are moving to reap cost savings by upgrading their aging information technology and win younger, more tech-savvy customers by digitizing banking services on smartphones and tablets. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain’s second-largest bank, has invested $250 million in a fintech fund. In March, Milan-based UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, committed 200 million euros ($222 million) to a fund managed by Anthemis Group, a venture-capital firm in London.
Santander InnoVentures, managed by onetime McKinsey & Co. consultant Mariano Belinky, has invested in eight startups since its inception in 2014. In January, it took a stake in Digital Asset Holdings LLC, the blockchain technology firm headed by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters. In May, Santander InnoVentures took part in a $40 million investing round in SigFig, a San Francisco-based startup that makes wealth management "roboadvisor" software.