Europe’s third-largest insurer Generali has announced it will indirectly invest 1.25 billion euros in emerging financial technology by 2019.
The Italian giant, sensing what chief executive Marco Greco called a “revolution,” will work with a group of venture capital funds including Ribbit Capital to support startups in mobile payments technology and data analysis among others, FT.com reports.
“This is an industry that has been lagging behind every other industry — it has been paralyzed,” Greco said, adding:
“Either you understand it and you move towards the forefront of change […] or this industry will disappear.”
The funds Generali is set to partner with include GGVC Capital, based in Silicon Valley, as well as digital currency-focused Ribbit Capital, owned by Bitcoin Foundation board member Meyer Malka, which has been a prominent investor in the likes of Coinbase, Xapo and BTCJam.
The move comes as Generali eyes the already-extant trend among its competitors, Axa having launched a venture capital fund worth 200 million euros earlier this year. Along with the decision, Generali is looking to cut costs of its own operations by 500 million euros over the next three years as part of a major restructure.
“Generali is amongst the last to announce this type of investment and hence we see this as absolutely necessary to stay on par with peers,” Thomas Seidl, an analyst at research firm Bernstein commented in response to the confirmation.
Ahead of the multi-year commitment, the firm has already announced an intention to purchase UK telematics firm MyDrive Solutions, active in data relay for the automotive industry.