The fund was launched on the 30th of January. It targets early-stage, high-potential businesses in fintech and companies in the food and agricultural sector. It is also financed entirely by Rabobank and a part of the bank’s wider innovation strategy. Besides providing capital, the fund gives companies access to expertise, knowledge, and Rabobank’s network.
Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV) will specifically support start-ups, scale-ups, and spin-offs in scaling up their businesses. In addition, RFV also adds value to the bank’s customers, as Harrie Vollaard, who heads RFV, notes:
“Investing in and developing strategic innovations is a key part of Rabobank’s strategy. We have, for example, already launched a number of successful innovations through our own internal accelerator programme. These innovations benefit both our customers and our long-term vision.”
The new offerings for Rabobank’s customers will benefit them in the long-term and tie in to Rabobank’s strategic direction and wider societal developments. Here, the bank is directing its attention and resources to four themes: platform banking, financial cruise control, emerging technologies as a business model enabler, and Data4Food.
Despite the fund just beginning, it has already made investments in start-ups, including we.trade, a blockchain-based platform that facilitates e-commerce trade for SMEs, and Peaks, an app that invests spare change. Both of these start-ups came out of the bank’s internal accelerator programme. Rabobank also partners with assorted national and international accelerator programmes, connections RFV will build upon.
Speaking on Rabobank’s involvement in fintech and the food and agriculture sectors Vollaard says that the bank has been “active in the worldwide FinTech and Food & Agri ecosystem for years and have succeeded in entering into various alliances”, noting the value-add of RFV in, “provid[ing] Rabobank with an added vehicle for working more shoulder-to-shoulder with innovative businesses with the aim of transforming the Fintech and Food & Agri sector and building a sustainable and future-proof banking model”.