AXA is launching AXA Strategic Ventures, a €200 Million investment fund dedicated to customer experience, the company announced today. AXA has already made a slew of investments – some of which we reported, like Flyr – some of which we haven’t – Fundshop, Particeep, Widmee, & Climate Secure. Investments will be made in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Zurich and Berlin, wish plans to launch in Asia in the near future.
In Paris, Minh Tran, who formerly headed AXA Seed Factory, is among the driving forces behind the AXA Strategic Ventures team. In addition to the 5 investments AXA has already made, AXA Seed Factory is becoming “AXA Factory,” which Minh Tran also runs; however, for now, the main website lacks a bit of information about the length and focus of the accelerator. From a quick glance, it would look as if AXA hopes to provide the same corporate “startup-operator,” as I call it, as Orange – a very small team whose sole job is to guide startups in their business relations with AXA’s various departments.
Reducing AXA to a small team both underscores the problems that large companies are having when it comes to innovation and highlights a best-practice that is forming among large French companies that is clearly working. Whether it’s Orange Fab, Start In Post, Microsoft Spark, or AXA Factory, these initiatives are all meant to roll out the red carpet to the very companies that can help them transform (or maintain) their business.