By Brandon Gath, Senior Director
CME Ventures is a technology-centric venture capital group, and wholly owned subsidiary of CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace. We look for companies with technologies that could impact platforms and systems, enhance the customer experience, or provide new products and services to the industry. We are also focused on helping entrepreneurs navigate the financial services industry and pride ourselves on being dedicated to the success of our entrepreneurs. We see our mission as being long term partners and active investors in our portfolio companies.
The corporate parent of CME Ventures, CME Group, is a driver of global finance. This is a key advantage; in that we can be strategic partners as our portfolio companies scale. The team can leverage all of the experience and expertise of the enterprise to help our portfolio companies.
We have invested in innovative companies focused on financial services like Ripple, Digital Asset, Crosslend, Dwolla and Digital Currency Group, but we also invest in deep technology companies like Nervana Systems, Spark Cognition and Orbital Insight.
We look at a product like autonomous transportation and see the link to financial services. Autonomous will require advanced technology in graphical processing units, sensors, AI, networking and security among other technologies, to build a product for mass use. These sub technologies will on their own be “disruptive technology,” in other words, these innovations will create a new market and value network, which may have an impact on financial services.
Specifically regarding fintech, we are excited about the choices new companies and technologies give to consumers in banking, insurance, real estate and wealth management. The opportunities globally are exciting, but even more so in Europe. The regulatory environment seems to be especially favorable. Passporting between countries in Europe can be easier than between states in the United States. Regulatory sandboxes are also helping companies experiment with new products and level the playing field in Europe for startups. Fintech in Europe in the banking and lending space is helping to create tighter fiscal connectivity between countries, companies and consumers.
We are looking to fund the best teams in the “obvious” Fintech companies, and the “not so obvious.” Our investment mandate is global, and we have invested in entrepreneurs in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York, Austin, Vancouver, Tel Aviv, London and Berlin. Our focus is on Series A and B rounds, and in addition to our initial funding round, we invest in a high percentage of our companies’ follow on financings to help them continue to scale.