After having announced a first closing at €100 million for its fintech Fund last year, BlackFin Capital Partners is announcing today that BlackFin Tech 1’s investment thesis attracted numerous new investors and reached €180 million for its final closing. Some big institutional investors like the German public bank KfW, Belgian insurer Securex, the groups MACIF, and BNP Paribas, have joined the existing pool of investors.
Founded in 2009 by four Fintech entrepreneurs – Laurent Bouyoux, Paul Mizrahi, Eric May and Bruno Rostain – BlackFin raised a first buy-out fund of €220 million in 2011. BlackFin has been investing and supporting the development of Financial Services companies across continental Europe ever since. Following the success of their first fund, they raised a second buy-out fund of €400 million in 2016. BlackFin now employs 25 investment professionals across its offices in Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt.
Laurent Bouyoux, Managing Partner of BlackFin Capital Partners, stated: “As entrepreneurs and founders of Fortuneo1 we feel particularly connected to entrepreneurs seizing FinTech opportunities. We are proud to reach €180 million for this Fund dedicated to earlier-stage investments with explosive growth. The size of the fund allows us to support the most ambitious entrepreneurs, all over Europe, through successive financing rounds.”
The fund is being deployed across Europe, and BlackFin will be be backing strong and ambitious teams, developing differentiated technologies or software solutions addressing the needs of large financial institutions (B2B), small businesses (B2SmallB) or consumers (B2C). All aspects of retail banking, payments, investment banking, wealth and asset-management, insurance, insurance distribution, back office optimization, as well as technologies related to regulatory requirements are targeted.
The major part of the Fund will be deployed in B2B and B2SmallB companies where BlackFin’s expertise and networks bring the highest value, especially in terms of commercial development. Western Europe constitutes BlackFin Tech’s core market with France, Germany, the Benelux region and Switzerland making up the bulk of opportunities investigated so far but with the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Nordics catching-up fast.
The first example of the fund’s investment strategy is FRISS. BlackFin Tech 1 led the €15 million Series A in this Dutch company, a European market leader in fraud detection for insurance companies. Their main fraud feature, the FRISS Score, leverages artificial intelligence technologies (machine learning) and big data analysis to assess risk levels when underwriting new policies and managing claims. The investment was co-led with Aquiline Technology Growth, a leading U.S. investor in the insurance industry.
The investment team also relies on a growing network of close to 40 Venture Partners spread across Europe. These former entrepreneurs and top executives of the industry identify investment opportunities in their geographies and provide portfolio companies with insights and commercial access to help them grow faster. They cover a wide range of European countries from Spain to Norway including Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and most other Western European countries.
The combination of a large fund, fully focused on Financial Services, independent from any financial institution, founded by a team of successful entrepreneurs, with deep sectorial expertise is pretty unique.