Spanish bank BBVA is setting up a fintech-focused venture capital firm with over $150 million (£104 million) to invest.
The bank said its BBVA Ventures fund, set up in 2013 with $100 million (£69 million), will be rolled into a new VC firm, Propel Venture Partners.
BBVA didn’t disclose how much of the $100 million is left but sources close to the bank signalled it is “significant.”
The new venture firm, which will be run by the managers of BBVA Ventures, will also have an additional $150 million to spend. The fresh funds make Propel one of the world’s biggest fintech-only focused funds. BBVA is the VC firms sole backer.
BBVA is among a number of banks who are looking at investing or partnering with tech-focused finance startups. Santander has also set up its own VC firm, InnoVentures, and the likes of Barclays and UBS offer mentorship and partnership opportunities.
Propel will have offices in San Fransisco and London and a remit to invest in fintech startups in the US and Europe. BBVA said investments will focus on startups in “payments, credit, insurance, wealth management, e-commerce, security and compliance.”
Propel managing partner Jay Reinemann says in an emailed statement announcing the changes:
Propel believes that the future of financial services will be realised by rethinking and rebuilding, not merely disrupting. We look forward to partnering with energetic entrepreneurs for the long term, driving ideas forward together, backed by BBVA and its commitment to support digital change in financial services.
BBVA’s Chief Development Officer and General Manager of New Digital Business Teppo Paavola says in the same statement:
In an increasingly competitive fintech venture capital environment, we believe that our increased capital, Propel’s independence and a presence in London can enable us to invest in the best fintech start-ups and better support BBVA’s vision of using technology to change financial services for the benefit of the customer.
BBVA Ventures made 9 investments during its lifetime, including in US online loan platform Prosper and UK digital-only bank Atom. The £45 million investment in Atom valued it at £150 million, despite the fact it has yet to launch to the public.
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