After the international payments app launch last month, British bank Santander UK plc, wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group (BME: SAN), announced that it has doubled the size of its fintech investment fund, from $100m to $200m, in what the bank describes as a sign of commitment to its philosophy of collaborating with startups.
Santander InnoVentures (SIV) was launched in 2014 to finance minority stakes in fintech startups. It has since made a series of investments in notable fintech startups such as wealth manager SigFig and SME lender Kabbage. It has also invested $4m in blockchain software firm Ripple and made a further investment in blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings, run by former JP Morgan executive Blythe Masters who has subsequently gone on to become a non exec chairwoman at Santander’s US subprime lending division.
According to SIV managing partner Mariano Belinky, the extra $100m of corporate venture capital will enable the fund to expand its portfolio to continental Europe and Latin America as well as exploring new technology around digital banking, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.
Peter Jackson, senior executive vice president and Santander’s head of innovation, said:
The fund is an essential part of Santander’s broader innovation strategy. The success of the work Mariano and his team are doing is confirmed by this second round of funding.”