Santander InnoVentures Puts $4M in Ripple as Series A Investor

Ripple, the cryptocurrency-based payments system, announced that Santander InnoVentures (Santander Group’s $100-million FinTech venture capital fund) is investing $4 million in its recent Series A funding round as an investor, bringing the round’s total to $32 million. Until now, the firm has raised $41 million in total. Santander is set to join Ripple as a board member.

Santander InnoVentures is a natural fit in this round because of their demonstrated support for real-time international payments and their commitment to new technologies that enable Santander to empower its customers, said Ripple CEO and Co-founder Chris Larsen. We are excited to work closely with them in building the Internet of Value and accelerating adoption amongst financial institutions, market makers and businesses worldwide.

In May, Ripple raised $28 million in its Series A funding. Since then, no new investors other than Santander have been announced by the company. The investors involved in the round were IDG Capital Partners (the venture arms of CME Group and global data storage company Seagate Technology), Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, China Growth Capital, Wicklow Capital (the investment vehicle for Dan Tierney and Stephen Schuler), Co-founders of GETCO (now KCG), Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vast Ventures and Venture 51.

Ripple is a distributed payments technology that connects the world’s divergent financial networks to securely transfer funds in any currency, that too in real time. Banks, money transmitters and clearinghouses can use Ripple as an alternative to correspondent banking to facilitate straight-through processing with no need for reserve funding.

The Santander InnoVentures fund is an investment vehicle designed to partner with portfolio companies and explore new technologies that can be used in support of Santander’s customer base.

Santander has long been an advocate for modernizing banking infrastructure, said Mariano Belinky, Managing Partner of Santander InnoVentures, in the press release. In our recent FinTech 2.0 report, we highlighted the $20 billion opportunity available to the financial services industry, and many of the scenarios where distributed ledger technology will have a positive impact.

Belinky added, We believe Ripple possesses the talent, technology and momentum to address many of these scenarios, and are actively exploring where and how best to apply Ripple technology inside the bank. Ripple and Santander share a common vision of the future of the industry, and we intend to jointly advocate it in the community.

Santander Bank, the world’s 10th largest bank, has been investigating in blockchain technology for a while. The bank claims to have 20-25 use cases for blockchain and that around GBP 12 billion could be saved in banks infrastructure by switching to the blockchain concept. The bank had set up team Crypto 2.0 to research the use of blockchain in banking with a specific focus on international payments and smart contracts (June 2015).

Many companies already use blockchain protocols in addition to Ripple for P2P money transfers across international borders. It’s a segment worth $500 billion. Examples of such companies are Bitspark and BitPesa.

In addition, Ripple has also partnered with global consulting firm Accenture. As a result of the partnership, Accenture will offer Ripple products to its clients.