Banco Santander has hired former McKinsey man Mariano Belinky to run its $100 million fintech venture fund, as it bids to get in on the ground floor at startups leading the financial services digital revolution.
An Argentinian national, Belinky joins Santander from Mckinsey, where he acted as an engagement manager in the consultancy's Madrid office. Before joining McKinsey, he was a Ph.D. candidate in the Artificial Intelligence programme at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Prior to this he spent three years as a research associate at institutional money management group Bridgewater Associates.
Owned by Santander UK but operating as an independent unit, the Innoventures fund has been set up to invest in fintech firms around the world, initially focusing on startups involved in e-commerce and payments, online lending and investing, and big data analytics. It was launched in July this year, but has yet to make its first investment.
Reflecting its ambitions to be in the forefront of the mobile revolution in banking, Santander last week spent £33 million to buy a five per cent stake in mobile money outfit Monitise. It has also invested EUR5 million in Swedish mPOS vendor iZettle.