The Dutch bank took a "third option" when it no-longer made sense to keep the venturing arm in house.

Hugo Bongers partner at Motive Partners

ABN Amro has transferred its corporate venturing operations to Motive Ventures, a specialist fintech investor, with several of the investment team, including the team‘s managing director, Hugo Bongers, joining the Motive Partners team as a partner.

Motive Ventures, the early-stage investment arm of Motive Partners, a private equity firm focused on fintech and business services, has assumed management of the $150m in assets that the ABN Amro Venture Fund had under management, including 15 early-stage companies. ABN Amro has become a significant investor in Motive Ventures. Tim Wanders, executive director at ABN Amro Ventures , also joined the Motive Ventures team as a Principal.

“It’s like CVC, but on a turbo boost.”

“It’s like CVC, but on a turbo boost,” Bongers told Global Corporate Venturing, saying that the move was an attractive alternative for companies which have decided that it no longer makes sense for them to have internal VC operations.

The ABN Amro Ventures investment team had achieved high levels of financial returns, with investment companies like Tink, the Swedish open banking startup that was bought by Visa for $1.7bn, and Penta, the business banking startup that was bought by rival Quonto, yielding strong returns for the bank.

However, said Bongers, the portfolio and the bank had grown less strategically aligned over time.

Many banks in this position have spun out their venture operations. Santander, for example, spun out its venture capital arm as Mouro Ventures in 2020, while BBVA folded its internal venture fund into external investment fund Propel Venture Partners in 2016. In other cases, the venture units may simply be wound down with the startup stakes sold on the secondary market.

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However, Bongers said the Motive deal represented a third option, which he believed offers the greatest benefits to everyone involved: bank, VC, and portfolio startups. By investing in funds advised by Motive, ABN Amro will stay connected with the latest developments in fintech, while their portfolio startups will benefit from a larger group of investors.

The ABN Amro Ventures team consisted of just five investors, but Motive Partners boasts around 200 professionals. Additionally, Motive’s geographic coverage is broader and deeper, with offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin.

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Maija Palmer

Maija Palmer is editor of Global Venturing and puts together the weekly email newsletter (sign up here for free).