Q&A, Q&A- Investors / Corporates

Q&A with Ankur Kamalia of DB1 Ventures

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I joined Deutsche Börse Group in November 2015 to take up the newly-created role as Head of Venture Portfolio Management. Prior to joining the Deutsche Börse Group, I managed an investment portfolio for a family office and for a hedge fund in Asia. Previously I was a Managing Director at UBS, responsible for strategy for the Global Investment Banking division in London and worked in Corporate Finance/Capital Markets in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Avid reader and traveller. Born and raised in India for the first half of my life, and lived in 7 countries over the second half. I completed my formal education with an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, but the informal education continues on a daily basis.

2. What is your investment focus/thesis, and which FinTech firms are in your portfolio?
DB1 Ventures’ vision is to be a strategic partner of choice for early- to growth-stage companies which are core or adjacent to Deutsche Börse Group’s strategy, generate attractive investment returns and add strategic value to its growth plans.  DB1 Ventures considers itself Deutsche Börse Group’s “eyes and ears” in the venture ecosystem. Its focus is set on areas of strategic interest to the Group to help the company drive innovation.
DB1 Ventures makes and actively manages long-term and strategic minority investments. The investment focus is on technologies and capital market applications that are and will be reshaping the way financial markets operate. Our strategy is global and not limited to a particular geographical region.
Recent investments include figo gmbh (banking and fintech API), Digital Asset Holdings (blockchain), Trifacta (Data wrangling technology), Trumid (electronic corporate bond trading), Regtek.Solutions (regulatory technology), Illuminate Financials (early and seed stage capital markets fintech fund) and Digital + Growth partners (a B2B DACH centric technology fund).  We also manage previously invested Fintechs such as Digital Vega and R5FX and other minority shareholdings for Deutsche Börse Group.

3. What made you invest into Figo and why?
Figo is one of the leading technology infrastructures companies in Germany in the fintech landscape, led by a strong team.  Figo is emerging as one of the leaders in the API connectivity and banking as a service (including PSD2 readiness) in Europe.  A close collaboration with figo could help DBG to expand its reach as the infrastructure provider of choice not only within capital markets but also in banking and fintech.  Furthermore we are leveraging their technology capabilities to jointly engage in product development and other partnership opportunities