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Santander invests in two technology startups to speed its digitalization

  • Santander InnoVentures Fund invests five million dollars in mobile payment provider MyCheck, and  becomes a strategic investor in Cyanogen, a company that develops Android commercial mobile operating systems.

London, UK, 1 April 2015. Banco Santander announces two investments in financial technology startups to support digitalization. Santander InnoVentures Fund, based in London, invested five million dollars in the mobile payment and loyalty provider MyCheck and participated in the last fund raising round of Cyanogen, a company that is developing secure and personalized Android based commercial mobile operating systems.

These investments highlight Santander’s philosophy of collaboration and partnership with small and startup companies. It strengthens Santander’s position as an enabler for the pioneers of financial technology, allowing it to address customer needs, while continuing to build Santander´s growing global digital offering.

MyCheck, founded in Israel in 2011, is reinventing the payment experience in hospitality by focusing on point-of-sale integration and user experience to increase customer engagement and customer satisfaction. The company has seen 320% growth in transaction volumes in the last six months. MyCheck allows customers to split a restaurant check between friends, order food to go or even leave a tip without waiting for a waiter.

The funds from Santander, the first in MyCheck’s series B funding round for which it will receive a minority equity stake in the business, will be used to accelerate MyCheck’s international expansion, especially across the U.S and Western Europe, bolster sales and marketing, and enhance business intelligence capabilities. As part of the deal, MyCheck will be able to leverage Santander’s expertise and scale, reaching over 100 million retail and commercial customers across ten main markets in Europe and the Americas.

Cyanogen, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, is the company that develops the commercial mobile operating system Cyanogen OS and backs the largest open-source Android community distribution, CyanogenMod. The company is focused on building an open OS platform that enables a more open, level playing field for the mobile developer ecosystem around core services most frequently used by consumers. Through this approach, Cyanogen expects to spur innovation, improve ecosystem revenue generation, and empower mobile consumers to choose their default apps and services.

The investment allows Santander to experiment with new distribution techniques, applications and services closely integrated with the operating system, which may increase security, enhance user interfaces and drive new revenue streams. Santander’s customers will be provided with greater data security and privacy.

Santander intends to work with Cyanogen to find ways to drive commercial adoption of terminals with Cyanogen OS in its core markets in Europe and Latin America. Cyanogen’s implementation already allows its partners to distribute smartphones with Cyanogen OS tuned and optimised for each device. There are over 50 million users of CyanogenMod, the largest community of open code programme developers for Android, which is backed by Cyanogen.

This investment is part of Cyanogen´s series C fund raising round that the company recently completed with a range of investors that include Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Industries, Telefónica Ventures and Rupert Murdoch, among others.

Mariano Belinky, Managing Director of the Santander InnoVentures Fund, said: “We established the InnoVentures fund to support startup fintech companies who are at the cutting edge of digital delivery of financial services and in MyCheck we have found this. The investment in Cyanogen presents us with some exciting opportunities to learn and closely monitor how the operating system market develops, and to be able to react quickly to key changes in the competitive landscape.” 

The Santander InnoVentures Fund was launched in July 2014. Based in London, its investment objectives have a global remit and build on the bank’s philosophy of collaboration and partnership with small and start-up companies. The fund provides fintech companies with much needed finance while supporting the digital revolution to ensure Santander’s customers world-wide, benefit from the latest know-how and innovations across the banking group’s geographies.

The fund is 100 per cent owned by Santander UK, but is a self-standing, specialised,  organisation, fully dedicated to the remit of supporting fintech companies worldwide. The primary focus is on:

  • Digital Delivery of Financial Services – aimed at reinforcing distribution and the overall customer experience in the new digital environment;
  • E-commerce and Payments ventures; 
  • Online lending – Ventures using new data sources to provide better access to credit, including crowd and social funding;
  • E-Financial investments – online systems to distribute financial investment products with self-service and planning capabilities organised around the lifecycle; and,
  • Big Data Analytics – platforms to leverage financial and non financial information to provide better services to our customers.
  • www.santanderinnoventures.com

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