Since Paris-based insurance giant AXA launched AXA Strategic Ventures in February 2015, François Robinet, managing partner of the 230 million ($257 million) fund, has been methodically building a global team with a presence in the key markets of London, New York, and San Francisco. First and foremost, its a question of having the right people involved, says Robinet, 49, who earlier in his AXA career served as the insurers chief risk officer, CEO of AXA Rosenberg Investment Management, and head of AXA Life Invest. Imran Akram, formerly of early- and growth-stage venture capital firm DN Capital, has been installed as AXA Strategic Ventures London general partner. AXA veteran Manish Agarwal is the general partner in New York. Alex Scherbakovsky, who has fintech investing experience with New Enterprise Associates, Silver Lake, 3i Group, and FTV Capital (at which Robinet is a strategic advisory board member see Brad Bernstein and Richard Garman, No. 7), heads the San Francisco office. One of the firms investment vehicles, ASV Early Stage, has deployed about $25 million so far, adding over the past year stakes in Swiss car-trading platform Autolina, London-based wearables platform BioBeats, and Brooklyn, New York, healthy-habits tracking app developer Wellth. Robinet says his growth-stage investment vehicle, ASV Capital, will announce its first deal before year-end. Robinet anticipates rounding out his team with an office in Asia and is thinking about adding a fund-of-funds portfolio. When we started as a concept two years ago, insurance was still seen as an industry where there wasnt a lot of innovation, and we didnt see at that time a lot of interesting stuff in insure-tech, Robinet says. It has changed completely, with start-ups proliferating in such different dimensions of the insurance world as software, models, big data, risk management, underwriting, and marketing.
The 2016 Fintech Finance 35 Click below to view profiles