Juniper Financial, the online banking venture started by Bank One Corp. veterans Richard W. Vague and James Stewart, is to announce today that it has secured $94 million in second-round funding from a variety of investors.
Juniper has yet to launch its service, which it says will revolutionize an industry that has not drawn many consumers. But that apparently has been no deterrent to investors.
James Stewart, Juniper's president and the former chief executive officer and president of Bank One's WingspanBank.com., said the Wilmington, Del., company had only expected to raise $50 million to $75 million.
"As we concluded our fundraising efforts, demand was so strong that we increased the amount to allow additional investors to participate," he said.
Juniper's new investors are Fifth Third Bancorp of Cincinnati; J.&W. Seligman & Co., an investment advisory firm in New York; the Finnish wireless company Sonera Corp.; Maverick Capital, also in New York; Total Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Synovus; Aether Systems, a wireless-data company in Owings Mills, Md.; Kingdon Capital; and Kemper Ventures.
Benchmark Capital, of Menlo Park, Calif., which funded Juniper's first round with a $20 million investment, also took part in the second round.
Juniper initially will offer credit card, checking, and bill payment services, but plans call for its to become a personalized portal where consumers can take care of all their financial needs. The company has already hired more than 200 employees, some of whom had little knowledge of the direction Juniper was going to take.
Some of Juniper's new investors will play a major role in its systems and strategic planning. Aether Systems will enable wireless offerings, and Sonera president and CEO Harri Hollmen will join Juniper's board of directors.
Wireless "is going to be a big part of what we're doing," Mr. Stewart said.
Juniper has also appointed to its advisory board Robert E. Litan, vice president and director of the economic studies program and Cabot family chairman in economics at the Brookings Institution. Mr. Litan is an authority on privacy.
"Privacy is something that resonates very deeply with consumers when dealing with the Internet, especially with their finances," Mr. Stewart said. "We wanted to have a recognized expert to help us sort through those things."
Most of Juniper's plans are still under wraps. The company says it will offer a "more personalized approach" to online banking and do so in a way "never seen before."
Juniper is setting up brick-and-mortar access points. A subsidiary of Fifth Third, MTS, will link customers to automated teller machine networks. In July, Juniper announced an agreement that will let customers send deposits by overnight mail at Mail Boxes Etc. stores.
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