Fintech VC Life.SREDA launches ‘Banking on Blockchain’ fund, targets corpus of over $100m

Visual of Banking on Blockchain fund homepage. May 2016

Singapore-based fintech venture capital (VC) fund Life.Sreda, which shifted its base from Moscow to Singapore in 2015, is launching a venture fund targeting investments in the blockchain ecosystem called the Banking on Blockchain Fund. Based in London, the fund will target European and Asian fintech firms using blockchain technologies.

Initially reported in East-West Digital Newsthe fund is targeting early-stage investments in blockchain-based ventures with use cases relevant to banks.

Life.Sreda started out as the venture capital arm of Russian’s LIFE Financial Group. Launched in 2012, the firm closed its first fund in late 2014 prior to launching a second fund targeting investments in foreign startups outside Russia. This was followed by a shift of its headquarters and the opening of an accelerator in Singapore.

The fund, which is targeting to close a corpus of 100 million euros  ($111.14 million), was incepted with an initial capital infusion of $5 million euros from Life.Sreda, Currently, the fund is seeking to engage financial institutions (FIs) like banks and insurance firms as limited partners (LPs), in order to grow its capital base to $50 million by the end of 2016, before reaching its $100 million euro close in 2017.

In an interaction with East-West Digital News, Igor Pesin, CFO and partner at Life.Sreda, stated that the fund would begin investing after it hits first close in Q3 2016. He also added that the firm was currently an independent VC firm unaffiliated with the LIFE Financial Group and was collaborating with strategic partners and limited parters (LPs) of Asian origin.

The funds’ management team, led by CEO Chris Skinner, has Thomas Labenbacher as a partner and managing director, while David Brear serves as partner and investment director. Vladislav Solodkiy, who heads Life.SREDA as managing partner, will be a partner in the fund alongside Pesin, who will take up the dual roles of partner and CFO.

According to Skinner, LPs will be able to access research outputs, investment analytics and expertise in addition to their financial returns, which will help in targeting investments at startup ventures operating in specific sectors. Life.SREDA is already predicting significant disruptions across various industries, with cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), stock trading, online music and smart contracts just some of the areas where blockchain is forecast to have an impact.

With US$173 billion invested in blockchain technologies in Q1 2016, Life.SREDA’s latest move is aligned with global developments, as major corporate players and FI’s make their move to establish a presence in the blockchain space.

Blockchain investments over the last few quarters.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.