Santander InnoVentures, a $100 million fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group and Onevest. Onevest recently announced 1000 Angels, an investment platform designed to “reinvent venture capital”. Onevest also operates the CoFoundersLab as part of its strategy to develop an entire startup ecosystem. According to Alejandro Cremades, Onevest co-founder and Executive Chairman, the first initiative is the Santander Distributed Ledger Challenge. The Challenge is designed to identify and support innovative applications for using distributed ledger (DL) and blockchain technologies to improve the processes and operation of the banking industry.
Santander has been one of the few traditional banking institutions that has actively engaged with and partnered with disruptive finance. One of the largest banks in the UK, Santander has formed partnerships with both Funding Circle and Crowdfunder.UK. Santander likes to consider itself a challenger bank in the market.
The Santander InnoVentures DL Challenge is targeting startups worldwide. The competition hopes to highlight areas providing opportunities for improvement and re-invention. These include mortgage processing, trade finance and asset leasing. An earlier report, The Fintech 2.0 Paper: rebooting financial services by Santander InnoVentures, estimated the value of these opportunities as worth many billions of dollars.
Onevest explains that the winner of the Challenge will receive a $15,000 cash prize to help fund the startup during the process of refining their idea to make it ready for angel investment. The winner will be given access to market and technology experts at Santander InnoVentures and its parent, the Santander Group. Onevest will provide mentorship and guidance before presenting the winner to its 1000 Angels private investor community to pitch for ongoing funding.
Entrants will be shortlisted and then selected by a panel of DL and blockchain technology experts at a Challenge event to be held in New York during January 2015. Mariano Belinky, Managing Partner of Santander InnoVentures, stated:
“Our aim is to inspire innovation and encourage entrepreneurship. Distributed ledger technologies will create huge value for customers, banks and entrepreneurs who create new businesses around it. The Challenge will spark and accelerate that process for fintech startups.”
Alejandro Cremades, Co-founder and Executive Chairman at Onevest, added:
“The financial industry’s processes are ripe for improvement and our investor community has an appetite to help startups in that space. We look forward to fostering innovation in partnership with one of the most powerful players in the fintech space.”