Ribbit Capital, a new Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, has closed on a $100 million fund that will be focused solely on finance-based startups.
The firm will focus on startups specializing in lending, payments, insurance, accounting, tax preparation, personal financial management, and other financial services. The firm will target disruptive early stage startups that reinvent the financial space. However, Reuters reported the company would target only those startups with an established product, not just an idea.
The firm will be headed up by serial entrepreneur Meyer “Micky” Malka, who previously co-founded the Brazil-based bank Banco Bracce, as well as Bling Nation, a mobile loyalty and payments service that later developed into Lemon, the receipts tracking company. Malka is the fund’s sole general partner and has launched five financial service companies, including his first at the age of 18. Malka was also an early investor and board member of Wonga, which provides small businesses access to credit.
“Banks have proven to be difficult environments for innovation to flourish, resulting in an antiquated financial services industry that remains relatively untouched by the technology-driven evolution transforming other markets ranging from social media sharing to professional enterprise services,” Malka said. “The technology to unlock this innovation is in place, and there are entrepreneurs around the world with groundbreaking ideas that have the potential to turn this industry on its head. What’s lacking is the investment, will and expertise to develop and make them reality. It is going to require focused investment to ignite this change, and Ribbit is here to answer the call.”
The fund will invest $2 million to $15 million rounds in a maximum of 15 investments over the lifetime of the fund.
The fund has already made four investments, including borro, the fastest-growing personal asset lender worldwide that is also a Red Herring Americas 100 winner; Fuze Networks, a U.S.-based payments technology company; ContaAzul, the leading provider of easy-to-use SaaS accounting and invoicing solutions to SMBs in Brazil; and Capital Access Networks, the U.S.’s largest non-bank lender to small businesses.
“I believe there are huge market opportunities in the financial services industry, but, as an entrepreneur, have witnessed the difficulties of raising capital in this sector,” Malka continued. “Ribbit strives not only to disrupt existing financial services, but to create significant value in an industry that has been otherwise untouched by an entire generation of technology and the thinking that drives it while promoting economic growth and global development.”