Barclays sets up venture capital unit

Barclays Branch

Barclays has established a new venture capital arm led by its former head of strategy in a bid to add a new revenue source.

Barclays UK Ventures will be headed by Ben Davey, who will also join Barclays UK's executive committee as part of the move.

The unit will aim to add a "a significant new revenue stream" by the middle of the next decade, Barclays said.

The new unit will take standard equity stakes in firms but will also consider investing in commercial partnerships and internally developed ideas.

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It will also have the "mandate to work semi-autonomously and pursue innovative and disruptive themes", the bank said in a statement.

The move comes with Barclays nervously eyeing the movements of Edward Bramson, the activist investor who recently built up a five per cent stake in the firm. Bramson has started to approach other major shareholders to canvass support for a push to make the investment bank more profitable, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

John Cronin, an analyst at Goodbody stockbrokers, said it "seems like a sensible forward-looking move" and an "example of how the leadership team is ploughing on with restructuring across a number of domains".

Barclays already has financial interests in investments at the venture capital end of the spectrum, including a tech accelerator programme in Shoreditch to help nurture fintech startups.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: “We live in a very exciting time for our industry where the deployment of new technology is making new business models and partnerships possible for the first time.

"We are a growth business and Ben’s appointment will put real weight behind this new unit to provide new lines of revenue growth in addition to the organic growth of our core business.”

Read more: Barclays credit downgraded to near junk status

Full story: Barclays sets up venture capital unit: City A.M.

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