AMEX unveils $100M fund to invest in digital commerce

Faith Merino · November 8, 2011 · Short URL:

The fund will invest in early stage startups in all facets of the digital commerce space

American Express knows that times are a-changin’ and consumers are moving away from plastic towards easier digital payments solutions.  So to stay ahead of the curve, AMEX announced Tuesday that it’s launching a new $100 million fund to invest in early stage startups in the digital commerce space.

Specifically, AMEX is looking to invest in companies that are taking on key elements in the digital commerce space, such as the obvious: mobile and online payments, as well as fee-based services, loyalty and rewards, security and fraud detection, and data analysis.

AMEX has already made a couple of investments in digital commerce companies, including mobile payments service Payfone in April and e-commerce solutions provider Rearden Commerce in September.

American Express jumped into the digital payments space earlier this year with the launch of Serve, which allows users to make person-to-person transfers, in-store card payments, and online transactions all from a single a single account.  The key angle of Serve, however, is the person-to-person payments feature, which allows users to pay a babysitter, a handyman, or pay back a friend.  It also includes a “split the bill” feature that allows groups of people to figure out how much each owes for a restaurant bill.

Serve launched on the Web in March and simultaneously debuted its new iPhone and Android apps so that users can pay on-the-go.

AMEX competitor Visa plans on launching a digital wallet of its own this fall, and features will include click-to-buy (a one-click shopping solution), a cross-channel payments solution, preference management, and merchant offers.

"The payments industry is undergoing a fundamental change as the very nature of commerce is redefined," said Harshul Sanghi, managing partner of the Enterprise Growth Group, in a statement. "We believe our global network of businesses and consumers, international employee base, world-class customer service and data analytics will provide a significant advantage to potential portfolio companies."

Sanghi will be operating out of AMEX’s newly established office in Silicon Valley. 


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