Santander is creating a $100m venture capital fund in London for financial technology (fintech) suppliers.
The fund, based in London, will invest worldwide and provide finance to emerging fintech companies, allowing Santander to gain access to the latest innovations in banking.
The fintech fund will focus on the digital delivery of financial services, online lending, big data analytics and e-financial investments.
Ana Botin, chief executive of Santander UK, said: “The UK is a global leader in financial innovation. The Santander Fintech Fund builds on our philosophy of collaboration and partnership with small and start-up companies at Santander.
"In this case our aim is to provide fintech companies with much needed capital, while we gain know-how and our customers benefit from the latest thinking.”
UK fintech firms are still struggling to gain investment to grow and are flocking to London to be close to angel investors and potential customers.
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Antony Walker, CEO of TechUK, agreed. He said the thriving fintech sector must be an opportunity for all the UK, and not just London. “It’s entirely possible to build successful tech companies outside London,” he said, pointing to Edinburgh and Leeds as two existing clusters.
But Nektarios Liolios, MD of Startupbootcamp in London, wasn’t so sure. He said fintech startups need support and a community in which to thrive, as well as access to customers and investors, all of which London provides.
“In the US the really exciting early fintech stuff doesn’t come out of the Valley, but New York and Boston,” he said. “In the UK you don’t really have pockets of financial activity elsewhere.
“If you really want to make it big in the UK, you might start more regionally, but you will have to come to London eventually.”