BBVA rethinks FinTech approach

BBVA is rewriting its FinTech startup investment plans. The Spanish banking giant is nixing BBVA Ventures, launched in 2013, and is putting the $100 million it had earmarked for the initiative, and another $150 million, into a VC firm called Propel Venture Partners. BBVA will be a limited partner in Propel, which will focus on payments, credit, insurance, wealth management, e-commerce, security and compliance and will open an office in London in addition to its San Francisco HQ.

Teppo Paavola, BBVA's Chief Development Officer and General Manager of New Digital Business, says: ''In an increasingly competitive FinTech venture capital environment, we believe that our increased capital, Propel's independence and a presence in London can enable us to invest in the best FinTech startups and better support BBVA's vision of using technology to change financial services for the benefit of the customer.''

Propel's managing partners are Jay Reinemann, Tom Whiteaker and Ryan Gilbert. Reinemann and Whiteaker previously managed the BBVA Ventures fund, and Gilbert has been involved in several global financial services startups as a founder, investor and independent board member.

BBVA acquired Simple in the US and last year made a $128 million investment in UK mobile-only challenger bank Atom. Its BBVA Ventures' investments so far include digital lender Prosper, wealth management advisor Personal Capital and Taulia, an online cashflow management tool for corporate purchasers and suppliers.

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