Mobile Commerce

Rakuten Launches $100 Million FinTech Fund

Internet service giant Rakuten said Thursday (Nov. 12) it launched the Rakuten FinTech Fund, a $100 million investment vehicle, global in scope, that is centered on “disruptive early to mid-stage FinTech startups that offer attractive return potential with strategic relevance.”

Regional focus will primarily be on the United States and Europe, said the firm, with a nod to finance investments that were made previously by the firm in companies such as Currency Cloud, Bitnet and WePay.

[bctt tweet=”Regional focus will primarily be on the United States and Europe.”]

In the release detailing the fund’s launch, the firm said the investment business represents a “natural evolution” for its presence within FinTech, with units that span eponymous divisions such as Rakuten Card, Rakuten Securities, Rakuten Life Insurance and others. Each of these units, according to the parent company, have grown in size both within Rakuten and within their industries. Rakuten asserted that its fund will help gather intelligence about financial innovation and have a positive impact on global financial services.

In terms of the structure of the FinTech fund, the day-to-day operations will be run by a fund advisor, Managing Partner Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel. Initially, said Rakuten, the fund will carve out its focus in urban and cosmopolitan centers of financial technology, ranging from New York and London to San Francisco and Berlin, with an eye on eventual global expansion thereafter, Rakuten noted in its announcement.

Miel said in a statement accompanying the Rakuten release, “If you just look at the last couple of years, companies like Currency Cloud, WePay or Bitnet are great examples of disruption changing the landscape in payments and providing innovative solutions that address fundamental needs of global customers. The Rakuten FinTech Fund is dedicated to helping these businesses accelerate disruption and innovation in historically more traditional and conservative markets.”

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