Luge looks to back FinTech & AI solutions with $75m fund

Luge Capital is looking for early-stage FinTech companies and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions applied to financial services following its $75m financing.

Initially, $50m of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group. Sun Life Financial, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and La Capitale are also ‘significant’ participants. Luge said that it may expand the fund even further up to $100m in the coming months.

Luge was co-founded by Karim Gillani and David Nault to invest in teams that improve financial services for people, businesses and financial institutions.

The fund will support the development of innovative solutions that improve customer experiences, enhance efficiency for financial institutions and implement data-driven methods and artificial intelligence for decision-making. Luge Capital said it concentrate on Seed and Series A financing, with initial investments between $250,000 and $2m.

Nault said, “We have partnered with world-renowned institutions that bring considerable industry knowledge and resources to enable us to help entrepreneurs build their businesses.

In addition, our AI and data-driven companies will have the opportunity to partner with our investors to access key insights in order to build best-of-breed solutions.”

Prior to co-founding Luge, Nault was an investor with iNovia Capital, a venture capital fund in North America. Before becoming a VC, he was president of Callio Technologies, an information security compliance software provider. Prior to this, he managed business development and partnerships at Pivotal Payments, Canada’s largest privately-owned payment processor.

Gillani has extensive background in FinTech, mobile tech, engineering, finance and strategy. Prior to co-founding Luge, he led corporate development for Xoom, a leading cross-border remittance company that was acquired by PayPal in 2015 for $89m. Before that, he managed M&A activities for BlackBerry in Silicon Valley. Karim developed the company’s overall strategy for mobile payments and commerce, including NFC payments, P2P payments and App World.

“We are looking for young mission-driven companies that challenge how the world interacts with financial services,” added Gillani. “We invest in bold teams that demonstrate passion, manage risk and optimize for performance.”

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