Startups

QED Investors closes on $1.05B across two funds to invest in fintech companies globally

Comment

Money or finance green pattern with dollar banknotes. Banking, cashback, payment, e-commerce. Vector background.
Image Credits: Svetlana Borovkova (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

QED Investors announced the closing of two new funds totaling $1.05 billion, capital that it will be using to back early-stage startups, as well as growth rounds for later-stage companies.

Specifically, today QED is announcing a $550 million early-stage fund and a $500 million growth-stage fund, both of which are aimed at backing fintech companies primarily in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Latin America and Southeast Asia. The fund was oversubscribed, according to QED co-founder and managing partner Nigel Morris.

Since its 2007 founding by Morris — who also co-founded Capital One Financial Services in 1994 — and Frank Rotman, QED has backed more than 150 companies, including 20 unicorns. It currently has over $3 billion under management.

While fintech has been an area of investor interest for some time, it’s safe to say the sector has exploded in recent years — largely fueled by consumer demand as more people transact online. That’s especially true as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to (sadly) rage on.

Clearly, Alexandria, Virginia-based QED was investing in fintech before fintech was “cool.” As evidence of that, the firm led Credit Karma’s Series A in 2009; led Remitly’s Series A in 2014 and participated in Nubank’s Series A in 2014.

Why global investors are flocking to back Latin American startups

The firm has come a long way from when it closed its first fund — $30 million of internal capital — in 2008. Its last fund — totaling $400 million — closed in 2020. Over the years, QED has backed unicorns that went on to exit either via the public markets or by acquisition, including SoFi, Credit Karma, Red Ventures and, more recently, Flywire.

As someone who also years prior had launched Capital One Financial Services, it’s no surprise that when Morris started a venture fund, it was one that focused on funding fintech companies.

After 14 years… it remains our cornerstone, even though fintech has evolved from the lending and credit businesses of the early years that was a core part of our Capital One DNA,” said Morris, who serves as QED’s managing partner.

Frank Rotman, the firm’s founding partner, describes fintech as QED’s “North Star.”

“There are so many exciting financial technology verticals today that can have a meaningful and lasting impact on consumers across the world, from proptech, sustainability and earned wage access to student loan solutions and financial products that cater to those that have been long ignored by banks and financial institutions,” he said.

In particular, Rotman said the firm is bullish on the future of embedded finance and on backing companies that distribute financial products in a variety of industries such as cross-border trucking logistics (such as Nuvocargo), car sales (Kavak) and shrimp farming (XpertSea).

QED plans to invest in between 40 to 50 companies out of its early-stage fund, with an initial average check size of $5 million to $15 million with similar reserves, according to Morris. The firm expects to make 20-25 investments out of its growth fund, with average check sizes between $10 million and $40 million. It has so far made one investment out of that growth fund, which has not yet been publicly announced.

“Almost every single” LP from QED Fund VI increased their allocation in the firm’s new funds, according to Morris. But the firm also welcomed several new LPs. While Morris declined to be more specific, he said the new LPs included “some really well-known names.”

“There’s no better confirmation than when an LP doubles down in their support of what we’re doing,” Rotman said. 

In terms of strategy, Rotman notes that QED has continued to lead deals that it feels “passionate about being involved in.”

“It’s not a secret that the market’s hot, and opportunities move quickly in this type of environment,” he told TechCrunch. “We see firms meeting with a founder in the morning, and a term sheet issued as soon as the following day. Many VCs can offer capital. Very, very few can augment that with proven, actionable advice and insight that can help them tomorrow.”

Both Morris and Rotman believe the fact that QED’s 17-person investment team being made up of former operators gives it a competitive edge.

We’re a unique company offering unique insights in an industry in which it’s easy to perform poorly and hard to do well,” Morris said.

“Most fintech companies will fail. That’s just the statistical, pragmatic distribution that occurs,” he added.

Within the fintech industry, there are myriad complicated issues — compliance, operations, tech, talent, credit risk and treasury, Morris continued.

“And they take a long time for people to have enough tree rings to be able to understand them,” he told TechCrunch. “Much of what we do…is help ameliorate and mitigate against those different issues by bringing to bear specific functional talent and the scars on our back of mistakes that we’ve made as operators to make sure that the young entrepreneur doesn’t make those same errors. It’s not enough to simply solve one problem. Founders need to successfully solve five, six, seven problems concurrently because if any one is not solved, the entire business will come crashing to the ground.”

More TechCrunch

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

2 days ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’