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Hearst Business Media & Fitch Group Form New Financial Venture Fund

August 04, 2016, 07:09 AM
Filed Under: New Venture

Hearst Business Media and Fitch Group announced the formation of the Financial Venture Fund, focusing on investing in early-stage financial information, service and technology companies.

The new fund will be led by former Managing Director for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Shea Wallon, who has been named a Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Fund effective immediately. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz, Hearst Business Media President Richard P. Malloch, and Fitch Group President and CEO Paul Taylor. Wallon will report to both Malloch and Taylor.

The Financial Venture Fund will look to make investments in innovative and emerging technology companies in the financial services industry to accelerate their commercial growth through the capital provided and generate attractive financial returns for Hearst.

"We decided that this is the right time to launch the Financial Venture Fund to make investments in financial services companies, leverage our assets to help grow these companies, and bring new learnings to Hearst Business Media and Fitch," Malloch said. "Shea brings years of leadership, expertise and proven results to this key position and he will be instrumental in accelerating our growth through strategic investments and partnerships in new companies and innovative solutions."

The Financial Venture Fund is Hearst's third fund within the company. Hearst Ventures has been operating for 21 years and has become one of the most active and successful corporate venture funds. Nearly five years ago, a vertical fund in healthcare, Hearst Health Ventures, was created to invest in startups offering health IT solutions and technology-enabled healthcare services.

Taylor commented: "The Financial Venture Fund will help Fitch leverage our resources and capitalize on opportunities in the rapidly evolving landscape of financial information and data."

Wallon was most recently consulting for R3 in its efforts to deliver blockchain technology to the financial services industry through research and development alongside its more than 50 global financial institution members. Prior to that, he was managing director, Global Principal Investments at Bank of America, where he led the investment team that made direct equity investments in emerging financial services and technology companies that were strategic to the bank's Global Banking and Markets businesses. He has also held a variety of leadership positions at companies including GE Capital and its private equity business, GE Equity, M.A. Schapiro & Co., Inc. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.

Hearst Business Media is a global technology leader delivering information, insights, analytics, and workflow solutions to meet worldwide needs in the finance, healthcare and transportation markets. Its holdings include renowned brands such as Fitch Group, one of the leading global ratings agencies; the Hearst Health network of market-leading healthcare companies First Databank, Zynx Health, MCG, Homecare Homebase and MedHOK, which provide care guidance to patients, hospitals, and insurers; and MOTOR Information Systems, Black Book and Canadian Black Book, the premier suppliers of automotive data.

Fitch Group is a global leader in financial information services with operations in more than 30 countries. Fitch Group is comprised of: Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research; Fitch Solutions, a leading provider of credit market data, analytical tools and risk services; BMI Research, an independent provider of country risk and industry analysis specializing in emerging and frontier markets; and Fitch Learning, a preeminent training and professional development firm. With dual headquarters in London and New York, Fitch Group is majority owned by Hearst.

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