Santander InnoVentures, the venture capital fund of Santander Group, is moving ever deeper into the fintech ecosystem with strategic investments in the UK startups Pixoneye and Curve and US based Gridspace.
Pixoneye and Gridspace deepen the fund’s focus in artificial intelligence as one of the technologies that will transform banking in the years to come and complement other investments such as Elliptic and Socure.
Pixoneye offers predictive personalisation technology, anticipating customers' changing needs and offering tailored recommendations, while Gridspace applies AI to sift through spoken and written communications to turn conversational interactions into structured business data.
Curve, meanwhile, is aiming at the 'connected finance' space, combining all payment cards into one Mastercard connected to a mobile app.
The latest investment comes in the wake of a highly active six months for the $200 million fund, which has seen the number of fintech investments reach 15.
Mariano Belinky, managing partner of Santander InnoVentures, says 70% of the fund’s portfolio are now in commercial engagements with the Santander Group: “As we invest in our core areas of artificial intelligence, open banking and customer centric solutions, we continue to position Banco Santander as a leader in financial services innovation and support the Group in its strategy of collaborating with disruptive companies, to make meaningful leaps in how we serve customers."
The investment in Curve comes as part of a $10 million Series A funding round for the company, which saw Santander join Investec and a group of VCs and individual investors. Curve is currently in Beta and has served up over £50 million in payments to a 50,000-strong base of self-employed and small business owners in the UK.