Finam, one of Russia’s most well-established financial groups, has teamed up with Skagit Investment, a Moscow-based IT investment company, to launch an international venture fund, christened FinSight Ventures, which aims to raise $50 million to $100 million.
The news was reported last week by Russian business daily Kommersant based on exchanges with top executives from the two companies.
According to Alexey Garyunov, the director of Skagit and managing partner of FinSight, the new fund is starting with $20 million invested by the founders in equal proportions. The fund will attract up to $50 million-100 million in the middle range, they say at Finam.
“We are pursuing an aggressive development strategy and are in negotiations with a number of major Western partners that are looking at the possibility of joining the fund,” Garyunov told Kommersant.
According to Finam chairman Vladislav Kochetkov, they are large private partners with experience working in the venture industry and investment banking, as well as a number of institutional players. Priority areas for FinSight will be P2P platforms, payment systems and software solutions for the financial sector.
The largest deal the fund is prepared to participate in is for $20 million. “There is no lower boundary. We are oriented toward packets smaller than controlling,” Kochetkov says.
Legally, the fund is Bermudan, but its strategy concentrates on a variety of countries, in particular, those of North America, Southeast Asia and Africa – where some of Finam’s portfolio companies already operate.
FinSight Ventures is just the latest of a long list of Russian funds investing abroad. Its creation is also an illustration of Russian investors’ growing interest in financial technologies.
Other initiatives in this field recently came from Qiwi, a leading operator of cash and electronic payments which launched a venture branch last year.
Another player, Ocean Bank – which specializes in online payments via its subsidiaries Robokassa and Platron – recently announced a program to invest in financial startups.
Life.Sreda, the venture arm of Russian financial group Life, celebrated its first exit earlier this year when Simple, one of its portfolio company, was acquired by the Spanish bank BBVA.