The ’smartmoney’ company of former IND Group founders has partnered up with the Banking on Blockchain Fund to fuel investments and facilitate banking use cases in the CEE blockchain space.
Founded by financial technology consultant Chris Skinner and the Singapore-based venture capital firm Life.Sreda, the Banking on Blockchain Fund (BB Fund) is raising $50m by the end of the year, with an additional $50m to be raised in the first half of 2017. “Life.Sreda, whose portfolio primarily focuses on FinTech and payments, has committed $5m, and the Fund has an additional $20m in soft-commitments from financial institutions so far,” says Thomas Labenbacher, managing director of the fund. The BB Fund is aiming to raise capital from mid-sized financial institutions, giving them access to the rapidly-growing blockchain ecosystem.
Headquartered in London, the BB Fund’s main investment focus will be on the European market. “In the CEE region, we see plenty of really exciting initiatives around blockchain and a lot of new approaches to this revolutionary technology,” explains Balázs Vinnai, one of the founding partners of BnL Growth Partners. As lead partner, BnL will target the CEE region to find and manage start-ups for the BB Fund. As many of these start-ups are tackling similar issues, however, for a mid-sized bank it will be challenging to decide which ones are worthy of attention. BnL’s additional role will be to guide and advise financial institutions in the region on different business models, and to find relevant use cases and appropriate technical architectures.
“With the blockchain space dominated by large global banks and VC firms, we see our partnership with BnL Growth Partners as a huge opportunity to provide a channel for banks in the CEE region through which they can gain exposure to the rapidly-growing blockchain space,” says Chris Skinner.