E-Finance Venture To Incubate B2B –

LONDON – Financial services firms Schroders PLC, Oliver, Wyman & Co. and 2Bridge, have joined to create Internet Finance Partners, an incubator that at press time had a capital base just under $100 million and will target business-to-business Internet start-ups around the world, Chief Executive Officer Nancy Curtain said.

London-based Schroders, the majority shareholder, will invest $40 million in the fund, while the other two backers at press time had yet to specify their investments. The incubator is seeking an unspecified amount of outside financing that it hopes to secure within the next three months. The number of companies the enterprise will back depends on the total capital raised, but initial investments will average between $4 million to $6 million.

How it Works

With duel headquarters in New York and London, Internet Finance Partners will provide each portfolio company with office space, network infrastructure, information technology, recruiting, marketing, accounting and legal services through its two incubating facilities, FinanceLab and FinanceSpeed.

The incubators will focus on Internet-based financial services companies that improve inefficiencies and problems for the financial community. For example, the incubator in March, invested $474.9 million in Lava Trading LLC, a New York-based developer of a technology that searches the Internet for the lowest real-time price in the United States equities market. Institutional trading organizations save money on the cost of trades by using the software.

FinanceLab, which focuses on early-stage ideas, assists entrepreneurs with business models and execution strategies. The later-stage FinanceSpeed, helps with strategic advice, technology build-out, business management, business connections, manpower and local market expertise. Companies participating in Internet Finance Partners will be housed for up to three months, after which time the incubator will continue to provide strategy, technology and global assistance until the company holds an initial public offering.

At press time, Internet Finance Partners was working with four start-ups and had three more in the pipeline, said Sharon Hugh, chairman of the fund.

Haugh and Curtain, both from Schroders, will lead Internet Finance Partners, and Mike Harding, formerly in charge of the New York-based Oliver, Wyman’s European e-commerce practice, will head FinanceLab. His counterpart at FinanceSpeed is Akbar Ayaz, a vice president at San Francisco-based 2Bridge, who is responsible for client technology services. Internet Finance Partners has an additional office in San Francisco and plans to expand to Frankfurt, Germany, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Schroders manages over $200 billion in assets worldwide and specializes in venture capital, asset management and private banking. Oliver, Wyman is a consulting firm that focuses exclusively on the financial services industry. 2Bridge, founded in 1997, delivers Internet-based solutions to create communication, commerce and collaboration e-hubs for businesses.