Google Ventures investor: 'It would break my heart if Powa corrupted fintech'

Google Ventures partner Tom HulmeFlickr/PICNIC NetworkGoogle Ventures partner Tom Hulme.

Fintech (financial technology) has arguably become the poster child for the UK technology sector over the last couple of years but the spectacular collapse of Powa Technologies did nothing for the sector’s reputation.

When asked whether Powa cast a shadow on the UK’s thriving fintech industry, Tom Hulme, a partner at Google Ventures in London, said: “It would break my heart if Powa Technologies corrupted the fintech marketplace.”

Powa raised at least $175 million (£122 million) but it had only $250,000 (£175,200) in the bank at the start of February and debts of $16.4 million (£11.5 million). Here’s how it spent all of its investor’s money.

Hulme was quick to add that Powa was not the type of company that Google Ventures would look at. He did, however, admit that he’s keen to invest some of Google’s millions into a fintech company at some point, adding that Google Ventures has looked at most of the peer-to-peer lenders and most of the crowdfunding platforms.

Fintech companies like TransferWise and Funding Circle has been valued at over $1 billion after raising hundreds of millions of dollars between them.

“We will [invest in fintech],” said Hulme during a lunch with Business Insider, The BBC and The Financial Times. “I think there’s an argument that prices are already coming off a bit, particularly at later stage, so I’d be very bullish about it. Particularly London.”

Avid Larizadeh Duggan, the only other Google Ventures partner in Europe, added: “There’s so much still to happen [in fintech] from partnerships to small acquisitions. There’s still a lot of time for Tom to invest.”

Hulme said he is also on the hunt for artificial intelligence companies that are developing general self-learning algorithms that can be applied to a wide range of scenarios in the same way that Google DeepMind’s can.

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