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Where is the $$ coming from? – Introducing you to 2018’s most active investors from around the World!

With one quarter pending in 2018, the year so far has already seen ~1,000 FinTech deals globally, overtaking the full year 2017 number of ~1,200 deals. ~75% of these deals took place in markets such as Asia and North America, followed by Europe and Africa. While most geographies saw a rise in investor activity in the last few quarters, South America saw a sudden drop in activity, especially in the most recent quarter of this year. The year so far has also seen the addition of 10 new FinTech unicorns (companies that have crossed a valuation of USD 1Bn), bringing the total global unicorn list to ~30 companies today. These valuations and rise in activity would not possible without the active efforts of investors in this space. Here’s a look at the investors from around the World who make 2018 such an exciting year.


500 Startups                                                                                                                         

Founded in 2010 in Mountain View California, 500 Startups is an early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator. With offices in Silicon Valley, Mexico City, Israel, San Francisco, London, and Miami, the fund is focused on working very closely with entrepreneurs and supporting them operationally and financially through business cycles. After going through some major management changes in 2017 due to a scandal relating to the CEO, 500 Startups sold some of its ownership to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG). 500 Startups began their journey by introducing start-ups to the World in groups or “batches” of 12-14 start-ups each, via their accelerator. Since then, the company has invested in ~1,200 companies across geographies and interest areas. The fund has not only seen strong activity in terms of investments but has also realized some high-value exits to leading companies such as Google, BBVA, Rakuten, amongst many others. The fund has also earned a reputation through its efforts with educational institutions around the World in the form of events and incubators for future investors. The fund’s portfolio includes marquee companies such as Canvas, CreditKarma, WePay (now owned by Chase), Lottery.com, and 9gag amongst others.



Ribbit Capital                                                                                                                                            

Ribbit was founded in 2012 with the motto of investing in entrepreneurs who want to “disrupt the Financial Services space”. Headquartered in Palo Alto, the fund is primarily focused on Venture Capital in the Financial Services and FinTech space. The fund is founded by Meyer Malka, one of the founders of the online brokerage firm Patagon, which he sold to Santander bank for USD 750Mn in the year 2000. Ribbit typically invests USD 2Mn to USD 15Mn in early-stage ventures with a strong focus on technology companies in areas of lending, payments, insurance, accounting, and finance management. Apart from these traditional technology investment categories, the fund has also earned itself a reputation of being a strong Blockchain proponent via it’s partnership with Social Capital, and direct fund investments in a Blockchain companies. Ribbit has impressed the investor community by having a long-list of unicorn portfolio companies; Coinbase is now worth ~USD 8Bn, Robinhood is worth ~USD 6Bn, CreditKarma is worth ~USD 4Bn, amongst others.



Creditease Fintech Investment Fund (CEFIF)

Launched in 2016 by Creditease, a leading Wealth-Management and Inclusive Finance conglomerate in China, CEFIF is a Fintech investment fund with ~USD 1Bn in capital under management. The fund has so far invested in ~45 companies between the United States and China out of which 5 companies have gone on to grow into unicorns. This unicorn list includes companies such as Circle, Tradeshift, Tiger Brokers, and Dasouche. On top of these successful investments, the current Managing Director of the fund has also been named to be one top “20 smart people in Financial Services” globally. CEFIF has often used the technique of setting up strategic partnerships with global Venture Capital investors to help further its own reach and increase its investing activity. This has worked well for the fund. Apart from CEFIF, Creditease operates other funds in areas of private credit, real-estate and other fund of funds.


Nyca Partners                                                                                                             

Founded by former Citigroup and Visa veteran in 2014, Nyca is focused on investing in innovations that can be applied to financial services firms, and the overall financial system around the World. This fund along with its management team has a reputa     tion for being cautious and risk-averse when it comes to Blockchain and Crypto-related investments. In fact, Nyca even passed on opportunities to invest in recent unicorns Ripple and Coinbase. Nyca has invested in 40 companies between its three funds which total to a capital-under-management of ~USD 300Mn. The fund’s portfolio includes companies such as Amino, Affirm, Boomtown, Sentilink, amongst others.


Omidyar Network

Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar set up the Omidyar Network with the goal of investing in people by giving them opportunities to maximize social impact. The fund was set up more as a charitable firm but now offers both grants and also investments to companies working towards making an impact. With a focus on areas such as Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance and Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights, the fund has so far invested in ~300 profit and not-for-profit companies around the World. Omidyar also recently spun-out a for-profit investments fund under the name of Spero Ventures that is focused on well-being, human connections, and the future of work. The fund has so far invested ~USD 1.2Bn Globally and recently set aside USD 250Mn for major investments in India in the next 3-4 years which it will invest through its office in Mumbai.



Bain Capital Ventures (BCV)

Bain Capital Ventures is the Venture Capital arm of Global investor Bain Capital, which has ~USD 60Bn of capital under management. Both Bain Capital Ventures and Bain Capital are divisions of Bain Consulting, a global Management Consulting firm with 8,000 employees and offices around the World. The fund has raised USD 3.2Bn across seven funds and invested in ~320 companies around globally ever since inception in 2001. The fund primarily backs enterprise-focused tech companies but also sometimes evaluates and invests in opportunities in the consumer space. These investments take place via two primary investment types; early-stage and growth-stage investments. Some of BCV’s marquee investments are in companies such as Ribbon, Lumina, Jet.com, Homebase, Docusign, amongst others.

By Sahil Anand Director, IBS Intelligence

This article was originally published in the November issue of the IBS Journal

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