BNL GROWTH PARTNERS JOINS $100M LIFE.SREDA BANKING ON BLOCKCHAIN FUND AS LEAD PARTNER IN CEE
The ’smartmoney’ company of former IND Group founders has partnered up with the Banking on Blockchain Fund to fuel investments and facilitate banking use cases in the CEE blockchain space.
Founded by financial technology consultant Chris Skinner and the Singapore-based venture capital firm Life.Sreda, the Banking on Blockchain Fund (BB Fund) is raising $50m by the end of the year, with an additional $50m to be raised in the first half of 2017. “Life.Sreda, whose portfolio primarily focuses on FinTech and payments, has committed $5m, and the Fund has an additional $20m in soft-commitments from financial institutions so far,” says Thomas Labenbacher, managing director of the fund. The BB Fund is aiming to raise capital from mid-sized financial institutions, giving them access to the rapidly-growing blockchain ecosystem.
Headquartered in London, the BB Fund’s main investment focus will be on the European market. “In the CEE region, we see plenty of really exciting initiatives around blockchain and a lot of new approaches to this revolutionary technology,” explains Balázs Vinnai, one of the founding partners of BnL Growth Partners. As lead partner, BnL will target the CEE region to find and manage start-ups for the BB Fund. As many of these start-ups are tackling similar issues, however, for a mid-sized bank it will be challenging to decide which ones are worthy of attention. BnL’s additional role will be to guide and advise financial institutions in the region on different business models, and to find relevant use cases and appropriate technical architectures.
“With the blockchain space dominated by large global banks and VC firms, we see our partnership with BnL Growth Partners as a huge opportunity to provide a channel for banks in the CEE region through which they can gain exposure to the rapidly-growing blockchain space,” says Chris Skinner.
ABOUT BNL GROWTH PARTNERS
BnL Growth Partners is a private equity and smartmoney advisory boutique firm committed to boost innovation in the FinTech sphere by funding and advising companies on product and market growth. The company provides early stage funding of €1–5m and connects innovations with financial technology buyers and technology partners through its extensive EMEA FinTech network.
Before launching the advisory firm, BnL’s founders, Balázs Vinnai, József Nyíri and Viktor Bálint, took a 15-year journey in the digital banking sphere, building the EMEA market-leading IND Group software vendor company. IND was acquired by leading global financial software company Misys in 2014. The route to the successful exit helped the founders to discover many opportunities where technology can transform financial services and improve the financial world.
ABOUT THE BB FUND TEAM
Alongside Chris Skinner are recognised blockchain and FinTech experts David Brear, Simon Taylor and Thomas Labenbacher, and FinTech investment professionals Vladislav Solodkiy and Igor Pesin, partners of Life.SREDA VC.
Chris Skinner is a best-selling author, blogger and founder of the Financial Services Club and has been named one of top 40 FinTech leaders by Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. Having previously headed the EMEA digital banking practice of Gartner Group, David Brear regularly appears in the top 10 lists of FinTech influencers. Simon Taylor, who is considered to be one of the world’s foremost experts in blockchain. He has been leading the creation and expansion of the blockchain team at Barclays. Thomas Labenbacher, former executive at Fidor Bank and Western Union has been appointed Managing Director of the new blockchain-focused fund. Life.SREDA is led by Vladislav Solodkiy, who has been voted among the top 35 most influential FinTech people in the world and the top 100 FinTech leaders in Asia. Igor Pesin, who had served as financial director at Life.SREDA VC for three years, has been appointed as CFO for the new BB Fund.