Santander InnoVentures, Santander Group’s global corporate venture capital fund, announced Tuesday (March 19) its appointment of Chris Gottschalk as a senior adviser to lead the $200M fund’s strategic direction in the U.S.
According to a Fintech Finance report, Gottschalk will be based in San Francisco and will focus on strengthening the fund via investment opportunities in the region. It also gives the fund’s non-U.S. portfolio companies a stronger entrance into North America. “Chris joining the team allows to realise our vision of being local investors in the markets we are most active in, building a permanent bridge between Silicon Valley and Europe, and allowing us to better support our entrepreneurs on a global level,” Manuel Silva Martínez, partner at Santander InnoVentures, said in the press release.
Gottschalk comes to Santander InnoVentures from Blumberg Capital where he was principal for seven years based in San Francisco. The executive has more than 15 years of experience as an investor, entrepreneur, operational executive and investment banker in technology. Prior to Blumberg, Gottschalk worked at Menlo Ventures. He has held board or board observer positions at technology startups including Bento, Blender, Earnup, Easyknock, Fundguard, Jassby, Lendio, Parsely, Roam Analytics, Sharegain, Simply Credit, Yotpo and Zibby, the company said in the press release.
Gottschalk will work alongside Martínez. The two will focus on building up local presence in the fund’s two strategic geographies — Europe and the U.S. — as well as jointly coordinating investments in other geographies that are relevant to Santander.
To date the fund has invested in 23 companies and was named the most active bank-backed FinTech corporate venture in the world by CB Insights, noted the company in the press release. “I am thrilled to join Manuel and the SIV team to build the fund’s foothold in the U.S.,” said Gottschalk. “It’s an exciting moment as we look to strengthen our efficiencies and competitive edge through the dual presence in FinTech startup hubs London and Silicon Valley, and to capitalise on transatlantic flows.”