By putting some distance between itself and its venture capitalists, BBVA is hoping to get closer to FinTech. With the closure of the Sberbank fund, the BBVA fund the second one that moves away from the traditional corporate VC model. Mains ones remaining active are Santander Innoventures, Commerzventures and AXA ventures in Europe.
The Spanish bank announced Thursday it would take the $100 million backing its internal Ventures effort, add an extra $150 million and create Propel Venture Partners, an independent firm that will invest in fintech startups in various stages of development. At the heart of this effort is the autonomy granted to Propel. Bank venture arms, despite the clout they carry by having the brand of a major global bank in their name, are often hamstrung by the complexities of being part of such an institution. Those complexities include the bureaucracy of any large organization, the limits put in place by regulation and the trepidation entrepreneurs may have about pairing with an incumbent they are looking to displace.