Japanese eCommerce firm, Rakuten has launched a $100million Rakuten Fintech Fund to make investments in early to mid-stage fintech startups globally.
The company already has a few fintech companies in its investment portfolio, including WePay, Currency Cloud and Bitnet. It aims to find more potential strategic companies mainly in US and Europe, and further expanding globally. Company’s Managing Partner Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel will run the fund operations.
Rakuten primarily operates as an eCommerce portal in its native land, and has been particularly in the news because of the high portfolio acquisitions and investments it has made including the acquisition cashback site Ebates, messaging app Viber and backing of Lyft in March 2015. The company had also launched a $100 million fund for startups mid last year.
The company sees a great potential in the future of fintech globally. It aims to support entrepreneurs in this sector through funding and by giving its own financial expertise, including access to its various divisions in online banking, credit cards, insurance, securities and asset management in Japan and internationally. This is in line with Rakuten’s own collection of fintech businesses: Rakuten Card, Rakuten Securities, Rakuten Bank, Rakuten Life Insurance.
Rakuten had opened up a development center in India in July 2014, however not much was heard of it after then. Rakuten India Development and Operations Center (RIDOC) is located in World Trade Center in Bangalore. India is emerging as a hub for FinTech startups as well, with P2P lending platforms, mobile payment tech, finance management firms developing natively. Thus whenever the firm decides to move its focus to APAC, it would find the region ripe with potential fintech companies for investment.