Nasdaq is stepping up its transformation into a tech company
Nasdaq announced the launch of Nasdaq Ventures, which will aim to find innovative financial technology firms with which they can collaborate, on April 20.
The program will invest between $1 million and $10 million and take minority stakes in the fintech ventures. Every potential investment will undergo "rigorous review," according to a news release out by the firm. An internal committee will be responsible for deciding the firms that best align with Nasdaq's goals and client needs.
"With the launch of our new venture investment program, we are reinforcing our focus on driving growth and innovation by evaluating, distributing, licensing and integrating disruptive technologies for the long-term benefit of our global clients," said Adena Friedman, Nasdaq's president and CEO, in a press release.
Gary Offner will head the new program. He joined Nasdaq at the beginning of this year, after running strategic investments for the equity division of Morgan Stanley.
During a Facebook Live interview with Jill Malandrino, the global markets reporter at Nasdaq, Offner said some of the first initiatives of the new program will focus on tackling some of the commonplace pain points facing Nasdaq's clients.
"And that can cover a number of different sectors," Offner said. "Content, data, analytics. It can cover machine learning applied to outsourcing initiatives ... there are a lot of opportunities."
Jean-Jacques Louis, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Nasdaq, said the company had been "really focused with putting ourselves on the cutting edge of technology, and how to really continue with delivering for our customers the best solution. And sometimes you have to go outside to see where innovation happens."
The new investment program is the latest chapter of Nasdaq's transformation from a US equities exchange to a diversified financial technology company. This is a move that has been viewed positively by Wall Street.
For instance, a group of equity analysts at UBS identified the firm as a favored pick among exchanges.
"Nasdaq's business mix has continued to evolve, and as investors continue to shift their perception of Nasdaq to more of a financial technology company, we think the multiple will continue to expand," the bank said.
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