Startups & Tech

Who’s got the money? Finstar has $150 million for fintech; IKEA bootcamp

It’s been awhile since we heard from them, but Moscow-based Finstar has big news.

Finstar Chairman Oleg Boyko has announced his private equity firm will invest $150 million in new fintech startups over the next five years. The money will also be used for research and development within the Group’s portfolio companies.

From the release:

We will finance direct investment in startups, contributions to SMEs, and research and development of cutting-edge fintech within our own companies. As far as the startup component is concerned, we are targeting three to six deals per year, in the seed to Series A rounds, typically ranging from USD500,000 to USD30 million. Our R&D investment is about pushing financial technology further and leveraging that innovation across our already strong fintech portfolio. This means that – beyond our financial commitment to the sector – the businesses we work with benefit from the strength of our technical resources and the depth of our expertise.

Global investment in financial technology startups increased to $12.7 billion last year, according to the CB Insights “Global Fintech Report 2016.”

As fintech races ahead, Finstar is increasing its global presence. The pledge to invest $150 million into fintech startups and in-house R&D is part of the Group’s wider commitment to expanding and improving its fintech offering, according to the release.

Finstar’s primary markets are Europe, Latin America, South-East and South Asia.

During the past two years, Finstar Financial Group has started strategic cooperation with European fintech companies Spotcap, Euroloan, Viventor and Rocket10. It has also expanded its collaboration with fintech entrepreneurs through FinstarLabs. FinstarLabs focuses its efforts on developing ground-breaking fintech, adtech and big data innovations, as well as identifying, investing in, and incubating leading fintech startups and entrepreneurs.

In 2015, Finstar launched its own portfolio company, Digital Finance International, with the aim of applying the most advanced technological solutions to deliver tailored consumer lending solutions globally.

About Finstar:

Finstar Financial Group is an international private equity group. Founded in 1996, the Group has significant experience in launching startups, corporate restructuring and expansion projects. Finstar operates in the financial services, IT, consumer retail and real estate sectors. Since its founding, Finstar has developed substantial operational experience and specializes in a value-added strategy of introducing global best practices for corporate governance, innovation and marketing to companies.

Luxembourg-based Mangrove has raised a $170 million fund to invest in European and Israeli startups, with most of the capital coming from previous Mangrove investors.

The VC fund that backed Skype (twice) and Israel-based website developer Wix.com is looking for early stage startups in, well, the new new thing. Which they’re pretty good at identifying.

TechCrunch quotes Mangrove’s CEO Mark Tluszcz as saying:

“We like to take big bets very early and support our best portfolio companies through multiple rounds of financing to build material stakes. We prefer to invest in unproven or unusual technologies rather than chase the latest fad.”

The TechCrunch post notes that Mangrove was an original investor in Skype, turning a $2 million into $200 million.

Okay ….

• Way past the startup stage? Then you need to know about Partech Ventures.

Partech just announced it’s raised 400 million euros to invest in A and B rounds. Partech has already made about 10 investments in Europe and the United States, including Chronext (Cologne), Qapa (Paris), Akeneo (Boston/Nantes), A/B Tasty (New York/Paris), Rinse (San Francisco), and Toss (South Korea).

From their news release:

With the closing of this seventh venture fund, Partech Ventures confirms its position as the European go-to platform for tech financing, with an active investment program of close to one billion euros completed over the past eighteen months across four funds. In this same period, Partech Ventures executed:
– 110 investments in ten countries, from pre-seed to growth;
– 12 exits, including AlephD (acquired by AOL), TouchCommerce (acquired by Nuance Communications), Teads (acquired by Altice) and Compte Nickel (acquired by BNP Paribas).

• This is cool. IKEA is putting on a bootcamp in Älmhult, Sweden, which is the middle of nowhere. EXCEPT it’s the first place the mega-furniture retailer had a store. IKEA is looking for teams in manufacturing, customer experience and other areas of retail, with 20,000 euros in investment capital.

Here are the details from the website:

10 startup will be part of the first program, which starts September and runs for three months. Selected startups get access to IKEA’s expertise & mentors, IKEA’s prototype shop & test labs, tailored mentorship and advice from Rainmaking’s global network of entrepreneurs, experts & investors, a €20K grant to spend on building your product and startup, and free co-working space & housing.

IKEA doesn’t take equity, by the way. Nor does Rainmaking.

You can apply here.

Apply by Aug. 6

• Rockstart Accelerator Artificial Intelligence accelerator

This Amsterdam-based accelerator program gives your AI startup 20,000 euros in actual investment and 80,000 in in-kind (office space, etc.) but gets 6 percent equity.

The ten AI startups chosen spend six months in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (near Eindhoven), working with mentors and partners including the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS).

You can apply here

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