A new ERA for Sumitomo Mitsui

A new ERA for Sumitomo Mitsui

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) are partnering with New York-based Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) for business development and tech innovation.

According to Sumitomo Mitsui, ERA is New York’s largest and oldest tech accelerator, with 140 portfolio companies involved in a variety of markets. These firms have a combined market capitalisation of $1.3 billion.

The tech start-ups at ERA are not purely devoted to fintech. However, ERA does say it has an interest in many ideas – including mobile, fintech, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and e-commerce.

As part of this relationship SMBC has invested in ERA’s newest investment funds and plans to work with ERA to “increase the connection” between New York and Tokyo as centres of tech innovation.

This is SMBC’s first investment in a New York-focused venture capital fund and its first investment in a US-based tech accelerator.

Details are quite vague, but there may well be some interesting fintech developments stemming from this new deal.

According to its website, ERA has a handy team of mentors on its books. Some of the names include Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM.

Acronyms unleashed

Both SMFG and SMBC have been active on the fintech scene.

Last month, R3 and four Japanese financial institutions (including SMBC) joined forces to use blockchain in a derivatives prototype test.

In May, SMFG and its partners unveiled an automated chat service using artificial intelligence (AI) to offer guidance to customers in Japan.

Last year, Tokyo-based IT provider NEC Corporation was conducting trials for cashless payment services using NEC facial recognition technology in co-operation with SMFG, SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Card.