ING bank‘s venture capital arm ING Ventures has pumped 10m EUR worth of Series A funding into FinCompare, a German comparison platform for SME financing options. With its investment in FinCompare, ING expects to fortify its presence in the German SME industry, of which it deems to be the most attractive in Europe. FinCompare plans to funnel the new burst of capital into growing the company, including investing in its IT platform and fleshing out the underlying team.
The move closely follows decisions that the Dutch bank has made recently to expand its reach within the European SME and personal finance market, including similar investments in British online SME finance marketplace Funding Options and Yolt, ING’s in-house money management platform. After Yolt’s stunning debut in the UK market, ING announced just two days ago that they would launch the platform in France and Italy. The bank believes its dual-pronged digitisation strategy of partnering with fintechs while growing its own is testament to the bank’s ability to sustain innovations in an emerging space where startups are beleaguered by jarringly high failure rates. Riding on the back of FinCompare, ING Ventures is looking forward to snapping up its neighboring German markets — Switzerland and Austria, and does not rule out a possible acquisition in 2019 to catapult its launch in the UK.
The blinding flurry of fintech partnerships and acquisitions by European banks big and small illustrate the continuing of a collaborative narrative that goes in the face of earlier predictions that banks will eventually respond by crushing its tech foes. Incumbents such as Nordea (who recently announced its partnership with crowdfunding platform Invesdor), BBVA and ABN AMRO have all made similar grabs in recent months, which each successful acquisition and partnership completed in rapid succession.