American Express to plough $100 million into digital start-ups – StartupSmart

American Express has unveiled plans to invest $100 million in eCommerce-based start-ups, with the credit card giant set to accept applications from around the world.


The Silicon Valley-based incubator will be led by Harshul Sanghi, managing partner of American Express’ enterprise growth group. He previously ran a similar scheme at Motorola Mobility Ventures.


American Express said it would look to invest in businesses that focus on online commerce, including “loyalty and rewards, mobile and online payment management, fee-based services, security and fraud detection and data analysis”.


Despite initially focusing on US start-ups, American Express tells StartupSmart that the scheme will soon be open to early-stage businesses from around the world.


“We’re starting in the US, but plan to expand internationally in the near future,” says a company spokeswoman.


“Every investment will be different depending on the opportunity, so we don’t have specific numbers on equity.”


American Express is the latest large business to plough funds into start-ups, following similar ventures by Google, Facebook and Vodafone


“American Express is a 162-year-old company that has continuously reinvented itself,” says Dan Schulman, group president of enterprise growth at American Express.


“As we enter the next chapter in our history, we recognise the need to work with emerging technology companies to inspire change, encourage innovation, and ultimately deliver the best products and services to our customers.”


Sanghi adds: “The payments industry is undergoing a fundamental change as the very nature of commerce is redefined.”


“We believe our global network of businesses and consumers, international employee base, world-class customer service and data analytics will provide a significant advantage to potential portfolio companies.”

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