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

  • By Peter Vasiliev


4. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IV
General Partner & Managing Partner
RRE Ventures
Last 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

1. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
2. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
3. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
5. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners
9. Darren Cohen
Goldman Sachs Group
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
12. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Propel Venture Partners
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
17. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
18. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
19. Michael Schlein
Accion International
20. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
21. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
22. Alastair (Alex) Rampell
Andreessen Horowitz
23. Steve Gibson
Euclid Opportunities
24. Fabian Vandenreydt
SWIFT
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
Life.SREDA
26. Gardiner Garrard III
TTV Capital
27. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp Fintech
28. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
29. Bina Kalola
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
30. Hyder Jaffrey
Fintech Innovation
31. Calvin Choi
AMTD Group
32. Janos Barberis
FinTech
Hong Kong
33. Jalak Jobanputra
Future Perfect Ventures
34. Sopnendu Mohanty
Monetary Authority of Singapore
35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
Rakuten
FinTech Fund

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