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The 2016 Fintech Finance 35: James Robinson III and James Robinson IV

< Fintech's Most Powerful Dealmakers of 2016
4. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IVGeneral Partner & Managing PartnerRRE VenturesLast year: 1

Having raised $1.5 billion in seven funds since its inception in 1994, RRE Ventures stands out for the size and breadth of its venture capital portfolio, spanning seed, Series A, and Series B stages. It invests globally but has a strategic affinity for its home market of New York: More than 50 portfolio companies are based in the metropolitan area. That helps explain RRE’s sizable commitment to fintech. So does the DNA of co-founder and general partner James Robinson III, who while chairman and CEO of American Express Co. from 1977 to 1993 took such bold steps as acquiring half of Warner Communications’ cable subsidiary, which had developed a revolutionary interactive television technology that foreshadowed the Internet but failed to fly when it was introduced in the 1970s. At the helm of RRE, the elder Robinson, who turns 81 on November 19, is less concerned about investment stage than about “what we have to offer. Stage isn’t the subject of the conversation,” he says. “It’s more what we think of the people. Can we help with their sales cycles or partnerships? Can we make a difference and move the needle?” RRE has no greater asset in that regard than its general partner, because of his extensive experience and business relationships, says his son, managing partner James IV. The 54-year-old Robinson is also an RRE co-founder, as is Stuart Ellman, who spearheads the firm’s interests in robotics and was on the board of Business Insider, which RRE exited last year when Axel Springer acquired the media property. The portfolio has diversity by design. Whereas some investors have shunned Bitcoin in favor of blockchain, “we have happily invested in both sides and everything in between, for better or worse,” says James III. With holdings in both media (BuzzFeed, for example) and blockchain (Chain, Digital Currency Group, itBit, Ripple), James IV isn’t thinking only about fintech applications: “Blockchain has great potential in digital publishing and content distribution,” and a seed investment, Mediachain, offers what it calls “a protocol for registering, identifying and tracking creative works online.” What’s still lacking, notes the younger Robinson, is “à la carte micropayments” for the digital goods.


 The 2016 Fintech Finance 35 Click below to view profiles
1. Jonathan KorngoldGeneral Atlantic2. Matthew HarrisBain Capital Ventures3. Jane GladstoneEvercore Partners4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures5. Steven McLaughlinFinancial Technology Partners6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean ParkAnthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners9. Darren CohenGoldman Sachs Group10. Hans MorrisNyca Partners11. Meyer (Micky) MalkaRibbit Capital12. Maria GotschPartnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry SilbertDigital Currency Group14. Jay ReinemannPropel Venture Partners15. Mariano BelinkySantander InnoVentures16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSenaSenaHill Partners17. François RobinetAXA Strategic Ventures18. Vanessa ColellaCiti Ventures
19. Michael SchleinAccion International20. Kenneth MarlinMarlin & Associates21. Rumi MoralesCME Ventures22. Alastair (Alex) RampellAndreessen Horowitz23. Steve GibsonEuclid Opportunities24. Fabian VandenreydtSWIFT
25. Vladislav SolodkiyLife.SREDA26. Gardiner Garrard IIITTV Capital27. Nektarios LioliosStartupbootcamp Fintech28. Lawrence WintermeyerInnovate Finance29. Bina KalolaBank of America Merrill Lynch30. Hyder JaffreyFintech Innovation
31. Calvin ChoiAMTD Group32. Janos BarberisFinTech
Hong Kong33. Jalak JobanputraFuture Perfect Ventures34. Sopnendu MohantyMonetary Authority of Singapore35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
Rakuten
FinTech Fund