Venture fund of ABN AMRO Bank takes stake in big data startup ThetaRay

Dutch fund’s first investment in an Israeli firm comes after bank used startup’s software to shield it from threats

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

ABN AMRO bank head office in Amsterdam, Netherlands, February 28, 2013 (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
ABN AMRO bank head office in Amsterdam, Netherlands, February 28, 2013 (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The corporate venture arm of ABN AMRO Bank has taken a strategic stake in Israeli artificial intelligence and big data startup ThetaRay, a developer of software that mimics human intuitive decision-making to detect hacking activities, avert money laundering schemes and uncover fraud and bad loans.

The Dutch investment came after ABN used the Israeli startup’s solutions to stay ahead of threats, including detecting money laundering, human trafficking and terrorist financing.

The firms did not disclose the amount of the deal or the stake taken in the startup. This is the Dutch fund’s first investment in an Israeli company, Hugo Bongers, director of ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund, said.

The ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund is the bank’s 50-million-euro corporate venture fund dedicated to fintech investments.

As part of the investment, the bank will promote the company to other customers and investors, the Israeli firm said in a Hebrew explanatory email. The funds will go to expand the company’s activities, helping it to enter new markets and employ new workers.

Hugo Bongers, Director of ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund (Courtesy)

The Hod-Hasharon based firm was founded in 2013 by Amir Averbuch and Prof. Ronald Coifman. It employs 70 workers, 70% of them in Israel, and has raised a total of $60 million to date. The firm also has offices in New York, Singapore, London, Amsterdam and Mexico City. Current investors include Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), OurCrowd, Bank Hapoalim, and General Electric (GE).

“Our investment in ThetaRay strengthens the current operational relationship between the bank and ThetaRay,” said the fund’s Bongers in a statement. “The market for these solutions driven by artificial intelligence is a major growth market across the world and is strategically relevant to all types of financial services.”

In addition, he said, the bank “stands to benefit from access to the Israeli ecosystem of cybersecurity and financial crime detection firms.”

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