The bank intends to preserve its status as a forerunner in using banking technology for the benefit of customers
Innovation is a strategic priority for ING Belgium. In a banking world that is rapidly evolving under the influence of the new needs of customers, new technologies and new regulations, ING Belgium is duty bound to preserve the role of forerunner it has forged from the very beginning. In order to do so, it has to be able to count on a network within the banking technology sector (ecosystem). This is where the partnership with SmartFin comes in.
SmartFin Capital is a new investment vehicle targeting 75 million euros that specialises in pioneering (SmartTech) and financial (FinTech) technologies, established and managed in Belgium. It is supported by a team of professionals – seasoned entrepreneurs, private equity experts and finance professionals – who have vast experience in founding, developing and growing innovative businesses. SmartFin Capital mainly targets companies offering pioneering technologies that could be of benefit to the financial sector.
Partners in more than one way
According to David Dab, Chief Innovation Officer of ING Belgium: “This partnership between ING Belgium and SmartFin is multifaceted. It is a true partnership that will enable us to benefit from privileged cooperation with SmartFin Capital in order to access the FinTech ecosystem, which will in turn enable us to test and try out innovations of the portfolio companies and select those that we believe will offer our customers a superior experience.” This entails fashioning a local FinTech ecosystem that brings together entrepreneurs, schools and public authorities among others, and can count on the banking technology pool composed of companies with a global reputation.
For SmartFin Capital, ING Belgium is a key partner for developing the fund. Jürgen Ingels, one of the founders of the fund, shares this opinion: “This strategic cooperation with ING will enable the fund to quickly test ideas and financial technologies of portfolio companies or others in a real environment, with the support of specialists. This will greatly support the fund’s strategic initiative, which is to create a real FinTech ecosystem in Belgium bringing together both new and more established FinTech stakeholders in one organisation, a real FinTech hub.”
The Belgian version of a group strategy
It is not just ING Belgium that is targeting innovation and coming together with FinTechs. It is a priority for the whole ING Group, as Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of ING Belgium, underlines. “Innovation has long been at the heart of our strategy, and today more than ever. It is crucial for a company like ours to be able to respond rapidly and effectively to the legitimate needs and requirements of its customers and, as a result of fast technological evolution, we must surround ourselves with a network of experts on the subject which will enable us to reinvent the profession of banker. This partnership with SmartFin is opening a new window to the future for ING Belgium, one towards a greater range of services for our customers and a better balance between our offering and the reality of market conditions. A partnership that will enable us to remain the pioneers we have always been.”
About SmartFin Capital
SmartFin Capital is a private equity fund with a long-term orientation and target capital of 75 million euros. It offers expansion and replacement capital for private SmartTech companies with a specific focus on FinTech that display potential to create significant value in the market sectors currently experiencing substantial growth in Europe. SmartFin Capital was founded in December 2014 by Jürgen Ingels (formerly Clear2Pay), Bart Luyten (formerly Sniper Investments), Edward Schiettecatte (formerly Jefferies & Co) and Stefan Dierckx (Projective). www.smartfincapital.com
About ING Belgium
ING Belgium SA/NV services all customers with a wide range of financial products and services via the distribution channel of their choice. ING Belgium SA/NV employs 9,129 FTE* and is a full subsidiary of ING Bank N.V. which services 32 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Australia.