BBVA Puts $250 Million into New VC Firm
Spanish financial services group BBVA is partnering on a new venture capital firm aimed at investing in fintech startups, contributing $250 million to the independently managed firm. BBVA will be a limited partner in Propel Venture Partners, which will focus on early to late-stage investments in areas including payments, credit, insurance, wealth management, e-commerce, security and compliance. Propel will have separate U.S and European investment funds, managed out of the firm’s San Francisco and London offices, respectively.
In conjunction with the launch of Propel, BBVA is closing its $100 million in-house fintech investment fund, BBVA Ventures, which the bank launched in 2013. Existing BBVA Ventures investments—including digital lender Prosper, wealth management adviser Personal Capital and Taulia, an online cash-flow management tool for corporate purchasers and suppliers—now will be managed by Propel, the bank said. One reason for the restructure of BBVA’s fintech investment strategy may be that BBVA Ventures was structured such that it was limited to investing in up to 5 percent in any given round, according to TechCrunch—working through Propel will enable the bank to invest much more.
BBVA previously made a $67 million direct investment in UK mobile banking startup Atom Bank—an investment it will still manage directly—and in 2014 acquired Paybefore Award-winning U.S. digital bank Simple for $117 million. In May 2015, BBVA revamped its corporate structure as part of a plan to better address what the bank called the “digital transformation” of banking.
- BBVA Keeps It Simple; Ezetap, mCASH Rake in Funding
- BBVA Invests in Atom Bank, the U.K.’s First Mobile-Only Bank
- BBVA Revamps Corporate Structure for ‘Digital Transformation’