Nationwide invests in FinTech to 'stay ahead'
A fast-growing proptech start-up based in London has been revealed as the first company to receive investment from Nationwide's new £50 million FinTech fund.
The building society has announced it plans to invest £50 million over the next five years in start-ups who can deliver technology that benefits its 15 million members.
The new fund has been described as "integral" to Nationwide's future technology strategy and will allow the building society to "stay ahead of expectations".
"While Nationwide doesn’t always shout about its latest innovations, we have a strong track record of delivering real technological advances that actually make an impact to the everyday lives of our 15 million members," said deputy CEO Tony Prestedge.
He added: "By investing in early stage start-ups, we can be at the forefront of helping develop innovative products and services that will benefit our members both now and in the future, allowing us to deliver our ambitious future technology strategy."
Nationwide has invested an undisclosed amount in London-based acasa, a home management platform that makes it easier for people in shared accommodation to pay their utility bills and manage their expenses.
According to CEO and co-founder Nick Katz, the company's mission is to leverage technology to make people live better lives and "bring the home into the digital age".
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"Partnering with Nationwide is going to allow us to accelerate our growth plans, deliver on our mission and make renting better for everyone in the UK and beyond," he said.
The building society's investment in acasa is part of a larger funding round, which includes participation from angel investors and its existing venture capital backers.
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
"We haven’t announced the size of the round yet – partly because there’s some additional room and so much interest that we have the capacity to raise additional funding," Katz said.
Emma Huntington, who leads innovation and venturing at Nationwide, told BusinessCloud that the building society has been working on setting up the new fund for six months.
"We’ve been seeing some amazing innovations happening across multiple areas and we wanted to tap into that for the members we have now and our members in the future," she said.
In 1997, Nationwide became the first financial services provider to introduce internet banking and at the peak of the financial crisis invested in a new core banking platform.
It was also the first to launch 24/7 customer service on social media and among the first to launch Apple Pay in 2015. The building society also became the first to introduce an in-branch HD video link service, which was used for around 125,000 appointments last year.