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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Francois Robinet, AXA Strategic Ventures

No. 16

François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures

If insurance, compared with banking and securities, is the financial technology laggard, a sleeping giant just beginning to stir, then AXA is breaking the mold. This past February, on the heels of a €950 million ($1.1 billion) commitment to digital growth initiatives, the €91 billion-in-revenue insurer announced the formation of AXA Strategic Ventures, a €200 million, Paris-based, multinational venture capital fund, with longtime AXA group executive François Robinet as chairman. “Insurance has always been technology-intensive, but it is old technology,” says the 48-year-old, who is scouting out potentially transformative innovations for the insurance, asset management and health care sectors. AXA Strategic Ventures already had five portfolio companies at its official launch, resulting from a France-centric pilot dating back to 2013, called Seed Factory. Among recent additions to those early holdings — which included FundShop and Particeep in portfolio management and crowdfunding, respectively — are Brooklyn, New York, online insurance start-up PolicyGenius and San Francisco–based mobile benefits platform Limelight Health. “We operate as a stand-alone, independent fund,” Robinet says, adding that he is still in the early stages of building out a global team beyond Paris, New York and San Francisco (where AXA Lab opened, to be closer to emerging Silicon Valley trends and potential high-tech alliances, in 2013). “Financial services in general, and insurance in particular, are being disrupted by digital innovation,” says Robinet, an actuary and former AXA chief risk officer. “We want to have as many tools as possible to capture innovation.” Since 2008, Robinet has been a director of MicroCred Group, which funds emerging-markets microlending and is part of the “financial inclusion theme” that he views as ripe for technological advancement.

The 2015 Fintech Finance 35

1. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
2. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
3. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
4. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
5. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
6. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
7. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
8. Thomas Jessop
Goldman Sachs Group
9. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
12. Marc Andreessen
Andreessen Horowitz
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
17. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
18. Alan Freudenstein & Gregory Grimaldi
Credit Suisse
19. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
20. Rodger Voorhies
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
21. Michael Schlein
Accion International
22. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
23. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
24. Mark Beeston
Illuminate Financial Management
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
26. Fabian Vandenreydt
Innotribe SWIFT
27. Derek White
28. Alex Batlin
29. Jeffrey Greenberg
& Vincenzo
La Ruffa
Aquiline Capital Partners
30. P. Howard Edelstein
REDI Holdings
31. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp FinTech
32. Roy Bahat
Bloomberg Beta
33. Andrew McCormack
Valar Ventures
34. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
35. Janos Barberis
FinTech Hong Kong

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