The mandate of MassMutual Ventures LLC (MMV) is to back startups and entrepreneurial businesses whose technologies have the potential to transform MassMutual’s core insurance, retirement and asset management businesses.
Why now? “We’ve been spending the last six to nine months thinking of ways to become more innovative,” says Doug Russell, MassMutual’s senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, and one of the managers of MMV.
“The world continues to change more quickly every day,” Russell tells PLANADVISER, and one way to make sure a firm keeps up with that pace is to actually establish a venture capital effort.
The fund was just formed, Russell says, and will look to invest in the range of $500,000 to $5 million. It is still in the early stages, but MassMutual Ventures will look to make investments across a number of businesses in the financial space. Russell is not disclosing any companies yet, but confirms the existence of a pipeline and says the firm is going to actively seek investment opportunities.
Investing in businesses that are innovating and leading industry change will give MassMutual valuable insight into new technologies and business models that will ultimately benefit the firm’s policy-owners and customers, Russell says.
Change is happening quickly, Russell notes. The venture capital unit will position the firm to make investments in companies with the growth to help accelerate MassMutual’s overall strategy. MMV will focus on investments in financial technology, consumer Internet, digital health and cybersecurity. These categories are “obviously a tremendous concern,” Russell says.
Russell manages MMV with Eric Emmons, who joins the division after serving as the head of Siemens Venture Capital North America for the past five years. Mark Goodman also joins MMV’s management team after founding and managing two technology-focused venture capital funds, Terawatt Ventures and Brookline Ventures.
MMV will manage its worldwide investments from its offices in Boston. MassMutual is based in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Entrepreneurs interested in working with MMV can learn more about the fund at MMV’s website or can contact the investment team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.