Today, Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings announced the establishment of a venture fund partnering with Swiss digital asset bank Sygnum, to invest in digital asset startups. SBI, with assets under management of $4 billion, is very active in the digital asset and blockchain sectors, with investments in Ripple and R3, and a collaboration with Boerse Stuttgart, amongst many others. Sygnum is licensed in both Switzerland and Singapore.
The fund will allow the firms to combine their respective fintech and financial services expertise, focusing mainly on early-stage startups located in Europe and South-East Asia. Sectors of interest for investment are innovative enterprise solutions or financial market infrastructure in the digital assets area. The fund will provide the startups with business development, corporate governance and operational support. It aims to tokenize the fund to attract a broader range of investors and provide investor liquidity.
In its June investor presentation, SBI listed 13 digital asset companies in which it had investments, such as Bison, Ripple, Securitize and Templum. It claims to be enterprise blockchain firm R3’s largest outside shareholder. SBI also presented plans for a crypto asset fund, where roughly 50% of the assets are XRP, 30% Bitcoin, and 20% Ether.
Meanwhile, in Europe Sygnum became the world first regulated digital asset bank, holding a banking license from Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and an asset management license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Additionally, this September FINMA awarded it a digital asset trading license.
Sygnum has been a strong participant in the efforts to create a Swiss digital asset ecosystem. In early 2020, it invested in SME share registry and tokenization firm daura, alongside the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX. Previous daura investors include Swisscom and Deutsche Börse. Sygnum recently disclosed plans to create two subsidiaries, a DLT solutions unit and an asset management unit.