(Turn and face the strange)
Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
(Turn and face the strange)
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time”
Changes – David Bowie
There is nothing permanent except change said Heraclitus. This certainly applies to my entire professional life, from its beginning to now. My tenure as a Venture Partner with Santander InnoVentures for the last two years has come to an end. I have a new project that is about to move forward after a year of preparation that now requires 100 pct of my time. I will be updating everyone in detail on this effort in a new post very shortly.
This transition would not be complete without a mention and warm thanks to the individuals that allowed me to work with Santander InnoVentures and interact with various parts of the bank. Throughout all these interactions at Santander, I met outstanding individuals at the top of their game and knowledge in one specific subject matter or another. I met creative people hard at work transforming the group as well as old school bankers struggling with what banking means in this new digital world we live in. I met executives whose understanding of core banking systems would put to shame any thought leader in the field and risk/compliance managers acutely aware of the limitations of fintech in its limited “go-alone” direct to consumer approach. It was fascinating, exhilarating, and unique all at the same time.
Specifically, thank you to Mariano Belinky who took the risk of working with me in the first place and allowed me to help the team in every way I could. Without him InnoVentures would not be the success it currently is – he is a force of nature and a dear friend. Thank you to Manuel Silva, who took over from Mariano as the head of InnoVentures, for allowing me to interact with the entire team and share investment thoughts almost on a daily basis. Manuel is one of the best fintech investors I know, with a sharp and subtle mind. He is also a great operator.
In no particular order, I also have to mention Victor Matarranz, a formidable head of strategy for Santander and now head of private banking and asset management, Sigga Sigurdardottir and Ed Metzger both from Santander UK, John Whelan who came in to lead blockchain innovation and now leads digital investment banking initiatives in Madrid, Julio Faura who is one of the most impressive experts on core banking systems and all things bank tech, Cristina San Jose the Chief Data Strategist of the group who taught me so much about data science,Rafael Esteban and Jean Laurent Pelissier with whom I interacted at InnoVentures, as well as Peter Jackson the former group head of innovation for Santander, and Michael Hvidsten (and his entire executive team) the CEO of Santander Consumer Finance Nordics. Finally, Stephanie Lee on the comms team in the UK and now in Madrid was an excellent help every time we interacted.
I know I am forgetting a ton of people from the entire Santander group, whether at headquarters or in country, and for that I apologize.
I wish Manuel and his team at InnoVentures the best of luck in the immediate future and with the new group innovation leadership and direction. It goes without saying I have extended my help going forward and that we will stay in close touch, share ideas and who knows, co-invest together in the future. I trust they will take me up on my offer.