Italy's UniCredit is the latest bank to join the fintech funding arena, committing to a $200 million war chest in partnership with London VC firm Anthemis.
UniCredit EVO (equity venture opportunities) will be a dedicated initiative trageting mid-stage startups and follow-on investments in more mature and established fintech businesses, says the bank, as well as early stage digitally native financial services startups working on more pioneering ideas.
With a primary focus on Europe and North America, the initiative will span across the early startup ideas phase to maturity and apply to different fields of retail banking and consumer finance; investment and corporate banking; wealth and asset management; capital markets and trading; payments and financial data; technology and infrastructure.
The UniCredit evo investment partnership will comprise a Management Board comprised of UniCredit and Anthemis representatives working together to identify the most relevant areas of focus, and an Investment Committee responsible for sourcing, evaluating and finalising investment opportunities.
Within UniCredit, the joint venture will be led by the innovation team, under the remit of banking group chief operating officer and deputy general manager Paolo Fiorentino. At Anthemis, Nadeem Shaikh, Anthemis co-founder and CEO, will oversee the partnership.
Fiorentino notes: “Thanks to this partnership, we are ramping up our digital transformation, building a new business model to maximise the combined strengths of traditional market players and newcomers. As a bank we have the resources, financial expertise and large customer base that can complement startup innovation.”
The $200 million kitty is the latest evidence of the bank's commitment to the fintech future. Last month it announced plans to spend €50 million to create a new smartphone-only banking subsidiary, dubbed BuddyBank. The startup is targeting one million customers in Italy in its first five years and is forecast to break even in year three with 300,000 customers.