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Santa Monica's Clocktower Technology Ventures is going south.
The venture arm of the global macro investment firm, Clocktower Group, announced Wednesday it is raising a $25 million fund focusing on financial services innovation – or Fintech – in Latin America.
Having backed more than 90 firms since 2015 across North America and Europe, the firm became interested in Latin America a year ago when it invested in Kushki, an online payments startup based in Ecuador, according to Clocktower partner Ben Savage.
"We realized just how good we believed the opportunity in Latin America to be, and we thought it made sense to pursue a purpose-built financial innovation strategy in the region," Savage told dot.LA.
The more he looked at the region, the more Savage became convinced consumers there were being woefully underserved by the small number of stodgy banks.
"We think this presents an attractive opportunity for industry disruption," Savage said. "From an entrepreneurial standpoint, there are two ways to approach it: You might address the blank space where incumbents are not and build financial services there, building financial products and leveraging tech to build faster and cheaper. Or you might compete directly with incumbents who have benefited from a lack of competition for many years."
Savage and his partners were also attracted to Latin America because of the high quality of entrepreneurial talent, many of whom have worked for major American tech companies that employ engineering and operations employees in the region.
"In some cases we see entrepreneurs who have been successful in the U.S., return home to Latin America to build a new company," Savage said. "We think over time a large cohort of the next wave of technology companies will be folks who spun out of great businesses."
Clocktower does not plan to open an office in Latin America and its team will still be based in Santa Monica.
"We do anticipate our team will spend time in the region once it's safe to do so," Savage said.
Investors in the new fund include Hirtle Callaghan – an outsourced investment office for families and institutions that manages upwards of $18 billion – along with hedge fund CIOs such as Alan Howard, Philippe Jabre, Glen Kacher and John Burbank's Passport Foundation.