ING has become the latest bank to launch a fintech venture fund, earmarking EUR300 million for investments in promising startups.
Entirely funded by the Dutch bank, ING Ventures will be part of the chief innovation office and led by Benoit Legrand, who has acted as head of fintech since 2015.
Over the last three years ING has been partnering with and investing in fintech startups around the world, but the new fund sees it formalise its strategy, following in the footsteps of Santander, Credit Suisse, BBVA and many others.
Says Legrand: "We have 115 partnerships currently running and have equity stakes in about 20 of those. We’ve also stopped 25 partnerships. So it is about having more means and more effective governance to be able to react quickly."
Over four years, the fund will focus on start-ups and companies that have already gained some market traction and generally concentrate on fintechs that are active in countries where ING has a presence or plans to move into. Legrand says the aim is to invest in as many as 20 to 30 startups over the next five years with a view to having a final portfolio of about 40-50 investments.
While the fund will adopt the usual VC investment methods and portfolio management, it will not just be about making money, says ING, but contributing to the bank's own Think Forward digital strategy.
Says Legrand: "Establishing this fund is yet another way for ING to use the digital revolution as a growth opportunity and help transform the bank to become the go-to platform for financial needs and become part of other platforms."