Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has established a $100 million fintech fund to invest in disruptive early to mid-stage startups in Europe and North America.
While the immediate focus will be on companies based in financial centres such as London, San Francisco, New York and Berlin, Rakuten says the fund will gradually expand operations around the globe.
The company says it wants to establish the vehicle as a bridge between entrepreneurs and Rakuten’s financial services, granting access to its expertise in banking, credit cards, insurance, securities and asset management in Japan and internationally.
The group is looking to build on the success of previous investments made by Rakuten in the booming fintech arena, including Currency Cloud, WePay and Bitnet.
The fund operations will be run with managing partner Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel acting as principle advisor.
Miel says: “If you just look at the last couple of years, companies like Currency Cloud, WePay or Bitnet are great examples of disruption changing the landscape in payments and providing innovative solutions that address fundamental needs of global customers. The Rakuten fintech Fund is dedicated to helping these businesses accelerate disruption and innovation in historically more traditional and conservative markets.”