Santander is rebranding its venture capital arm Santander InnoVentures as Mouro Capital, and doubling its allocated funds from $200m to $400m as fintech investment hots up. Mouro Capital will manage Santander InnoVentures’ existing investments as well as further deepen Santander’s fintech involvement.
Spanish multinational financial services company Banco Santander S.A. (BME: SAN) said it is divesting its fintech venture capital fund and doubling its funding with also re-branding the company formerly-known as Innoventures to Mouro Capital.
Mouro Capital will now, according to the announcement, become independent from Santander and deploy $400 million in allocated funds.
The lender plans to take on the whole of Innoventures’ current portfolio, which includes some of the biggest payment companies as Ripple and British fintech startups Curve and Marketfinance.
Founded in 2014, Innoventures’ portfolio consists of 36 companies across Europe and the United States of America. Starting from today, a little bit more than 70% of the fund’s portfolio companies are also considered to be working with Santander.
Santander to Become Fintech Leader
Santander noted that the decision to split off its fintech fund came as a part of its four-year €20 billion technology investment plan that was announced last year.
Santander executive chairman Ana Botin stated:
“The creation of our fintech venture capital fund in 2014 has allowed Santander to lead the industry in implementing new technologies, including blockchain, offering better services to our customers as a result. Innoventures has almost doubled the cash invested, despite being relatively young for a venture capital fund. Our goal is to build on that success, and by increasing our investment, while giving greater autonomy to the fund, we can be even more agile and further accelerate the digital transformation of the group.”
Mouro Capital will, therefore, lead investment rounds in fintech startups and companies in financial services. First, this will all begin with the investments of at least $15 million together with extra follow-on reserves.
It will be led by Innoventures general partner Manuel Silva Martinez and senior advisor Chris Gottschalk, who joined from Blumberg Capital in 2019.
Stronger Investment Strategy
He told TechCrunch that regarding the change of the investment policy point, Mouro will expand a stronger investment strategy, that may include investing in recognized competitors that have been done in the past. However, he stated that “this still fits into the logic that, if a venture capital affiliated with an industrial player should be a lighthouse for the ‘industry to come’, investing in emerging competitors that may reshape the future/long-term competitive landscape is just as aligned as any other topic.”
Martinez also said that Mouro intends to research more on the ‘boundaries’ of financial services, and invest in sectors as are property technology, mobility, logistics, education technology etc.
According to Martinez, there are companies that can brag with their superior possibilities as are technology, data science or installed capacity. All of these abilities together with banks or different startups, could construct new businesses or re-engineer businesses from the beginning.
He said that all of the questions like regarding the change in the novel technologies and new engineering paradigms (artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing) and the way of how the banks are working are about making new businesses “within the status quo of today’s industry by lining up the right resources and players.”