Fintech: Bond Bot Creator Katana Labs, Incubated at ING, is Spun Off

January 9, 2020 | FinTech, Venture Capital

Katana is also the name of a Japanese samurai sword.

ING announced Tuesday the spin-off of Katana Labs – an in-house start-up nurtured at its ING Lab incubator.

ING Ventures, the venture capital arm of ING, will invest £ 1.5 million along with other investors in a £ 3 million funding round that will take the startup forward in its life as an independent fintech. The firm is a € 300 million venture fund that makes minority investments in early-stage companies having a strategic relevance to ING.

Founded in 2018, Katana is based out of London. Conceived by Santiago Braje, the head of credit trading at ING at the time, it was intended to be an “augmented intelligence” tool to help sell-side ING traders quote sharper and faster prices.

However, the focus shifted soon to the buy-side, and Katana was born. It was a collaboration between user experience designers, software developers, data scientists, and asset managers. The project was co-created with investment teams at PGGM, the second-largest pension fund in the Netherlands.

Katana Labs

Katana is now an advanced analytics platform that supports portfolio managers in making faster and sharper investment decisions. Further, it uses computational power and a machine-learning algorithm to scan the entire bond market systematically to detect anomalies, helping investors to uncover investment ideas and find opportunities faster.

Along the way, investment managers at PGGM and other asset managers used Katana and provided ING with useful feedback.

The team at Katana Labs is as follows:

  • Santiago Braje – CEO & Founder
  • Buford Scott – CFO
  • Androniki Menelaou – COO & co-Founder
  • Dennis Vis – CTO
  • Alexander De Souza – Head of Machine Learning

Katana – Management speak

“A growing number of clients discover the advantages of using advanced analytics in decision-making. It enables them to work faster and more efficiently,” said Santiago Braje.

“In the past few years, Katana managed to grow from an internal innovation project to a serious value proposition for bond investors,” said Annerie Vreugdenhil, Chief Innovation Officer at ING Wholesale Banking. “We attracted major clients who see the added value of this super-smart AI-tool.”

Related Story: Banking Giant Banco Santander Snaps Up Control of Fintech Ebury To Focus on the Small Guys  

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