Lloyds TSB has announced the creation of a $30m joint venture with European incubator fund antfactory to develop fledgling internet businesses as standalone companies.
The joint venture, called Valuefactory Ventures, aims to find, develop and invest in promising startups and move them towards fulfilling their potential as standalone, profit-making companies. The venture will focus on investment opportunities that could best benefit from the resources of Lloyds TSB and antfactory.
Dennis Holt, group executive director of retail distribution at Lloyds TSB, said: "This partnership adds a new dimension to our ecommerce strategy. Antfactory, with its international network, will contribute its unique idea, entrepreneurial culture and partnership contacts as well as investment experience."
Harpal Randhawa, chairman and chief executive of antfactory, said the deal fits perfectly with the company's strategy of developing online extensions of the offline businesses of major corporates.
Analysts said the size of the venture is modest but that it is still capable of helping a number of companies.
Anthony Millar, an analyst with Richard Holway, said: "It's no surprise that financial institutions are getting into this area. A number of large multinationals, including IT companies, are investing in internet incubators.
"Some of the gloss has gone off the internet economy of late and the whole sector has been put under the microscope - people are a lot more prudent. However, there is still room for internet incubators."
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