Swedish Bank SEB Backing its First Bitcoin Business, Coinify

seb_416x416Swedish Bank SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken), headquartered in Stockholm, has long been interested in venture capitalism, evident by their active investment in “deep technology” for 20+ years. Now, SEB will be backing its first bitcoin business.

The investment branch of SEB, SEB Venture Capital, has involved itself with investment into a wide range of startups since 1995.

Post-trade securities startup Information Mosaic and management app Tink are among the many startups SEB has funded over the years. CA Technologies purchased SEB investment Arcot for $200 million in 2010, and four years later Cisco purchased SEB investment-funded Tail-f for $175 million.

SEB’s team of nine investors assigned $250m (2bn SEK) from SEB Group to Coinify,  with early-age Danish venture capital firm, SEED Capital Denmark, contributing support as well. SEB Venture Capital, which reportedly has a voting share of between 5 percent to 9.99 percent in the company, acknowledged the investment is “purely financial,” but insists that Coinify’s presence in its portfolio is about far more than an exit strategy.

“Coinify has developed a unique platform for blockchain payments and fits perfectly in our portfolio of FinTech investments,” David Sonnek, SEB’s head of venture capital, said of the new investment. “We, at SEB Venture Capital, really look forward to contributing to Coinify’s future development.” He added, “This kind of platform really unleashes the innovation of us all, and that may be the most important aspect.”

Coinify launched in 2014, benefitting from a multi-million dollar deal with SEED. Coinify supports payment in 15 digital currencies, and it plans to expand its payment and trade services throughout Europe and Asia. Coinify offers payment solutions for the digital payment (ex. Bitcoin and digital currencies). SEB’s Stefan Olofsson and SEED Capital’s Lars Andersen  joined Coinify’s board of directors, and SEB investment manager Filip Petersson is acting as the deputy director for Coinify.
While SEB will take on roles outside of their $4m investment, Sonneck has said that his team isn’t expected to become involved with Coinify’s day-to-day operations, but will focus on larger strategy. SEB intends to help grow the company and become a “more tech savvy bank.”