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Jay Reinemann, executive director, BBVA Ventures

BBVA to invest USD100m in innovative companies

BBVA has formed BBVA Ventures, which will invest USD100m in start-ups looking to transform the financial services industry.

Through this effort, BBVA will work with entrepreneurs and venture capital investors to broaden the bank's understanding of emerging trends, helping advance innovative initiatives in banking and finance.

Based in Silicon Valley, BBVA Ventures is already establishing ties with start-up firms, incubators and venture capital funds in order to identify possible opportunities and offer insight into the financial industry's most innovative initiatives.

Jay Reinemann (pictured), a veteran corporate venture capitalist and executive director of BBVA Ventures, says building an experienced team is essential in order to establish credible relationships with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs focused on innovation.

"Investing in startup companies committed to new business models enables BBVA to learn and anticipate the emerging challenges facing the financial services sector," says Reinemann. "What's more, entrepreneurs and co-investors can leverage BBVA's extensive experience, brand and global distribution network in the financial sector to accelerate their growth. This is an exchange of knowledge that significantly enhances the capabilities of the bank and the potential financial returns for our co-investors, while at the same time providing the entrepreneurs who lead the innovation processes access to BBVA's valuable strategic resources."

By making strategic investments in venture-backed start-ups, BBVA aims to facilitate internal education and awareness of developments in technology and emerging business models in areas that are strategic for the bank. Some of these areas include mobility, customer loyalty, e-commerce, payments and data analytics.

BBVA completed its first investment in Silicon Valley in early 2012 with an investment in the seed-capital fund and incubator 500 Startups Fund. The fund was founded by investor and entrepreneur Dave McClure, who previously worked with companies such as PayPal, Facebook, LinkedIn, Mint and Microsoft. The 500 Startups Fund accelerates innovative Internet ideas by supporting companies in their initial development stages.

More recently, BBVA completed investments in SaveUp and Ribbit Capital. SaveUp is a start-up that partners with financial institutions to apply gaming techniques to encourage savings, debt reduction and financial education. Ribbit Capital is a new Silicon Valley-based venture firm led by serial entrepreneur Meyer Malka. Ribbit targets disruptive, early stage companies around the world that leverage technology to reimagine and reinvent what financial services can be for people and businesses.

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