By Pietro Lombardi
Banco Santander SA has doubled the funds of its fintech venture-capital arm and launched a process to create a new entity managed autonomously.
The Spanish bank--one of the eurozone's largest banks--said Friday it is launching Mouro Capital, a new venture-capital fund focused on startups linked to the financial-services sector. The fund succeeds Santander Innoventures, and will have resources of $400 million, double the bank's current commitment.
Led by Manuel Silva Martinez--who has been at the helm of Innoventures since 2018--and Chris Gottschalk, the fund will focus on leading funding rounds with initial investments of up to $15 million.
The move to spin out the unit is part of the Spanish bank's plan to invest more than $23 billion in digital transformation and technology over the 2019-2022 period.
Santander Innoventures was launched in 2014 with initial funds of $100 million. It has so far invested in 36 startups, roughly 50% of which are U.S.-based. A fifth of them are based in Latin America, while the remaining are European.
"By increasing our investment, while giving greater autonomy to the fund, we can be even more agile and further accelerate the digital transformation of the group," Executive Chairman Ana Botin said.
Santander Innoventures has played an important role in the bank's tech strategy: seven out of 10 companies currently in the fund's portfolio work with Santander. It was also among the early investors in companies that then reached the status of unicorn, namely worth more than a billion dollars, such as Ripple.
Write to Pietro Lombardi at email@example.com; @pietrolombard10