Russian Billionaire Is Betting Big on Fintech (And Online Lending)

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oleg boyko
Above: Oleg Boyko

Russian billionaire Oleg Boyko is putting his chips on fintech. According to an announcement made by one of his companies, Finstar Financial Group, on Wednesday, he is committing $150 million of new capital towards financial technology startups over the next 5 years. And that money may be aimed at online lenders if his past investments are any indication.

A sample of Finstar’s investments:

  • Spotcap – online business loans – UK, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain
  • Euroloan – consumer finance – Finland, Poland, Sweden
  • Viventor – peer-to-peer lending marketplace – European Union

Boyko’s Finstar may have also crossed paths with online business lending in the US. In 2015, a venture capital fund identifying itself as Qwave Capital, attempted an unsolicited takeover of Kennesaw, GA-based IOU Financial. Though IOU only lends to small businesses in the US, it’s actually listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange where it’s valued at less than a dollar per share. In the ensuing battle for majority control of the company, IOU revealed that it had not only sued Qwave, but also sued a company using the Finstar name. Some quick online research showed that the owner of Qwave, Serguei Kouzmine, has run some of Boyko’s companies in the past, including a role at Finstar Financial Group.

While the takeover of IOU was unsuccessful, Qwave was at least able to acquire a significant stake. That wasn’t Kouzmine’s only foray into US-based lending companies either. Qwave now acts as the general partner of the FinTech Ventures Fund, LLLP. That entity lists not only IOU Financial among its investments but also Chicago-based LQD Business Finance, Atlanta-based Groundfloor and NYC-based Fundthatflip.

Last modified: July 20, 2017
Sean Murray

Category: Industry News

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