Mark Beeston, Managing Partner & Founder
Illuminate Financial Management are a London-based venture capital firm with a global investment mandate. We are a specialist financial markets technology investor and our first fund is purely focussed on capital markets fintech.
Illuminate’s investment thesis is driven by two core beliefs:
- That capital markets financial institutions are currently facing a generational change in the business and regulatory environments in which they operate, resulting from multi-jurisdictional regulation, significant industry deleveraging, and zero tolerance for compliance failures
- That we will only deploy capital where we believe we can actively influence the outcome of the business as successful deployment of capital in this vertical requires both domain knowledge and the strategic leverage that can be created from utilising a broad and relevant industry network
To date financial institutions have been notably slow to adopt new technologies, while vendor management and procurement processes are still focused on contracting multi-million dollar enterprise solutions from legacy software providers. However capital markets institutions now recognise the need to engage earlier stage companies and adopt their innovative solutions as a core part of addressing critical industry challenges around cost, control, capital and compliance.
We believe that we are now seeing both unprecedented innovation in capital markets technology and unprecedented need for new solutions. However at Illuminate we know that innovation alone is not enough. Innovation is only one part of a three-stage process: Innovate; Validate; and Adopt.
As such we established Illuminate to cross the chasm between fintech start-ups and the capital markets financial institutions they serve by acting as an independent but strategic investor with a global mandate. We have created a sector specific partnership model bringing together investors, entrepreneurs and financial institutions to invest in and foster the adoption of new technologies that address these critical business needs.
For example, the strategic investors in our capital markets fintech opportunities fund include IHS Markit and Deutsche Börse Group amongst others. Outside our investor base we have also partnered with multiple banks and buy-side institutions to find, validate and fund early stage companies and harness our extensive experience across banking, entrepreneurship and consultancy to help these companies achieve their full potential.
The Illuminate approach builds on the direct experience of our general partners as technology consumers, entrepreneur, operator and investors. Through the application of our team’s domain knowledge and by connecting entrepreneurs and their companies to our extensive industry networks, we endeavour to help drive successful outcomes for our portfolio companies and consequentially the returns of the Fund.
Our current fund is focussed on late Seed and Series-A stage funding rounds. We seek to invest in companies with an established product, client traction, revenue and a great team in place and are always on the lookout for the enablers that are solving industry challenges around cost, control, capital and compliance for financial institutions.
We remain excited about the possibilities that fintech brings to the generational change in capital markets and about our own role and contribution to that change.