Life.SREDA VC, a venture capital fund based in Singapore, has partnered with financial expert and FinTech specialist Chris Skinner, to give financial institutions access to the rapidly-growing blockchain ecosystem. The new venture fund called “Banking on Blockchain Fund”, or BB Fund for short, has launched with an initial capital infusion of $5 million from Life.SREDA, but the near-term goal of the venture is to expand its capital base to $50 million by the end of 2016 and aims to top $100 million in backing from financial institutions by 2017. The BB fund will be headquartered in London and main investment focus will be on the European market.
The rationale for the BB Fund is that there are 100s of blockchain start-ups pitching for investment today, because the blockchain technologies are revolutionising everything from banking to law to governance. It is why Venture Capital funds and Financial Institutions are pumping over $1 billion into blockchain technology start-ups in 2016, four times more than in 2015, and this exponential growth is predicted to continue through 2020.
Many of these start-ups are tackling similar issues such as shared ledgers for digital identities, asset tracking, smart contracts, clearing and settlement and payments. For a bank, this creates a challenge as to which ones are worthy of attention? Which ones have the best business model? Which ones are developing bank relevant use cases on appropriate technical architectures? And which ones should the bank invest in and partner with?
These are the questions the BB Fund aims to answer and with the blockchain space dominated by the large global banks and VC firms, thus far, sees a big opportunity in giving all banks an avenue through which they can gain exposure to the rapidly-growing blockchain space.
Skinner, who has advised large financial institutions on emerging technologies, believes that the BB Fund will ease investor fears by providing thorough due diligence on all FinTech firms the fund invests in. He states that: “the BB Fund will provide the banks not only investment analytics and returns, but also research outputs and consulting based on the knowledge gathered from the firms we invest in.”
The BB Fund offers start-up capital for early stage blockchain companies that have use cases relevant to banks. The objective of the fund is to nurture those companies we believe have the best possible chance of success based upon detailed due diligence of the technical, managerial and business capabilities. This will ensure that banks who invest in the BB Fund not only get early sight of the key developments in this new technology, but also a broad range of investments to ensure that they have at least invested in the ones that should succeed rather than just one that might succeed.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Alongside Chris Skinner are recognised blockchain and FinTech experts David M. Brear and Thomas Labenbacher, along with the investment professionals Vladislav Solodkiy and Igor Pesin, partners of Life.SREDA VC. Chris Skinner is a best-selling author, blogger and founder of the Financial Services Club, recognised as one of 40 FinTech leaders by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. David M. Brear is regularly voted in the top 5 lists of FinTech influencers, and previously headed the Global Digital Banking practice for Gartner Group as well as a number of other high profile roles across financial services firms both client and consulting side. Thomas Labenbacher, who previously held an executive position at Fidor Bank – which currently works with the San Francisco-based Kraken digital currency exchange – has been appointed Managing Director of the new blockchain-focused fund. Life.SREDA is led by Vladislav Solodiky, voted one of the Top 35 most influential FinTech persons in the world and a Top 100 FinTech leader in Asia. Igor Pesin, who has served as financial director at Life.SREDA VC for 3 years, has been appointed as CFO for the new BB fund.
Life.SREDA VC is an international venture capital firm, established 4 years and headquartered in Singapore. It is one of the first FinTech-only VC funds in the world. Life.SREDA has invested in more than 20 FinTech startups around the world (US, Europe, Asia), among those are such well-know brands as Simple, Moven, SumUp, Rocketbank, Fidor, Anthemis, Fastacash, Lenddo etc. Life.SREDA has already made 6 exits to date, including selling of mobile bank Simple to BBVA Group, a multinational finance group of Spanish origin, for USD$117 million. Life.SREDA is also well known for its FinTech articles, published at own blog http://fintechranking.com/ and for its respectful annual FinTech research Money of the Future.
— Life.SREDA (@LifeSREDA) March 30, 2016
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