Ribbit Capital, a new Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund focused purely on investing in innovative, tech-led financial services firms, has launched after closing its own $100 million fund.
Ribbit argues that the financial services industry is "stuck in a timewarp" with little innovation seen since the rise of online banking and trading in the 1990s, leaving consumers and businesses relying on money tools and processes developed in a bygone era.
Led by Meyer Malka - an entrepreneur who helped found mobile wallet firm Lemon and is on the board of controversial UK payday lender Wonga - the firm will look to put money into early-stage firms working in lending, payments, insurance, accounting tax preparation and personal finance management.
Says Malka: "Banks have proven to be difficult environments for innovation to flourish, resulting in an antiquated financial services industry that remains relatively untouched by the technology-driven evolution transforming other markets ranging from social media sharing to professional enterprise services."
Investments have already been made in four firms: spot financing outfit borro, payments tech firm Fuze Network, accounting and invoicing specialist ContaAzul, and small business lender Capital Access Networks.
"Ribbit strives not only to disrupt existing financial services, but to create significant value in an industry that has been otherwise untouched by an entire generation of technology and the thinking that drives it while promoting economic growth and global development," argues Malka.
Ribbit's own investors include Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Silicon Valley Bank, and a range of institutional investors. Malka is the new fund's sole general partner.