Ping An invests in Berlin-based fintech incubator

November 20, 2018 12:23
Following an investment, Ping An aims to enhance Finleap’s growth by helping with AI and blockchain expertise. Photos: Reuters, Finleap

Ping An Insurance Group (02318.HK) has invested in Berlin-based financial technology startup Finleap by participating in a funding round worth 41.5 million euros (US$47 million).

Shenzhen-based Ping An, China's largest insurer by market capitalization, made the investment through its Global Voyager Fund, marking the fund's first venture in continental Europe.

The company announced the news on Monday without disclosing the financial terms or details of the deal.

According to Bloomberg, the deal values Finleap at about 300 million euros. Ping An is said to have led the investment round with a contribution of 40 million euros.

Providing technology to help create digital solutions in Europe’s banking, insurance and asset management industries, Finleap bills itself as Europe’s largest fintech company builder.

Founded in 2014 by HitFox Group and Ramin Niroumand, the firm has already developed 16 ventures including banking platform solarisBank, digital insurer Element and receivables management services Pair Finance.

In a press statement, Finleap said the fresh capital will be used for development of new technologies and companies and further geographic expansion in Europe and Asia.

It also intends to invest further in its platform-based products FinReach and Infinitec, which enable traditional corporations to create comprehensive fintech solutions easily.

Asked about the concern on Chinese authorities’ restrictions over outbound investment and deals, Donald Lacey, managing director and chief operating officer of Ping An Global Voyager Fund, told CNBC that “the fund invests in fintech and health-tech opportunities around the world primarily, not absolutely ex-China."

"We try always to put money to work where we have a significant conviction that some way, somehow by virtue of proximity to Ping An, we’re going to be adding a lot of value to a partner company."

In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Lacey said Ping An will seek to accelerate growth at Finleap by helping with artificial intelligence and blockchain expertise, and by brokering access to the Chinese market.

The Chinese financial giant also aims to bolster Finleap’s expansion across Europe and entry into new businesses, he said.

Launched in 2017, the Ping An Global Voyager Fund has an initial capital of US$1 billion seeded by Ping An, with an aim to invest in fintech and digital health capabilities.

The fund’s investment areas include core banking, insurance and healthcare technologies, innovative digital business models, AI, and others.

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