Venture capital firm Life.SREDA started out in 2012 as part of Moscows LIFE Financial Group, where Vladislav Solodkiy was vice president of marketing. He raised two funds totaling $140 million and invested early in digital banks like Fidor, Moven, and Simple. The $117 million acquisition of Portland, Oregonbased Simple by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in 2014 was a landmark in fintech and a decision point for Solodkiy. Because his Moscow base made it difficult for him to be in close touch with burgeoning centers of innovation, particularly in Asia, he moved Life.SREDA to Singapore in May 2015. He notes that while global fintech investments hit record highs of $21 billion in 2015 and $12.7 billion in the first half of 2016, Asia became No. 1, ahead of the U.S. and Europe. Although much of the Asian money is flowing from China, which Solodkiy says poses a challenge to Japan, South Korea, and Singapore in growing their ecosystems, he is doing his part to boost the numbers. Over the past year Life.SREDA has invested in six companies, including Philippines-based Ayannah Information Solutions, a digital commerce and payments service targeted to the unbanked, and Singapores Fastacash, a payment system for social and messaging networks. The 33-year-old Solodkiy, who churns out semiannual Money of the Future research reports that run to hundreds of pages, is pushing other levers. Envisioning modernized banking infrastructures based on open architectures and application programming interfaces, Solodkiy is promoting a concept he calls bank-as-a-service (BaaS), a platform on which incumbents and upstarts can collaborate, innovate and operate efficiently at scale, even overcoming cross-border regulatory complications. Asia has a unique opportunity to surprise the world through creation of the first full-stack fintech bank, he says. Meanwhile, Solodkiy has assumed the role of partner-visionary in the 100 million ($110 million) Banking on Blockchain Fund announced in April by digital banking veterans David Brear, Simon Taylor, and others associated with recently formed London consulting firm Eleven FS Group. Blockchain will play a crucial role for fintech development in underbanked countries, Solodkiy predicts.
The 2016 Fintech Finance 35 Click below to view profiles