Bloomberg News

SAN FRANCISCO - E-Trade Group Inc.'s former mutual funds chief is raising $100 million to back start-ups that will offer financial services products he said he could not get E-Trade to embrace.

Brian Murray left E-Trade in March after two and a half years there, saying he disagreed with the No. 2 online brokerage's emphasis on trading rather than long-term investing. Mr. Murray was president of E-Trade Asset Management and in 1998 started its mutual funds business.

His new firm, Redfish Ventures LP, aims to make about 15 investments from its first fund, ranging from as little as $100,000 to as much as $5 million, Mr. Murray said.

The aim is not to create another E-Trade, but to start companies that can be acquired by large online financial services providers - such as E-Trade.

For example, Redfish may invest in developers of software for online money management or retail bond, foreign currency, and commodities trading, coming aboard when a start-up has about 10 employees and is still developing its product and business plan.

Redfish partners will take a direct role, acting as interim chief executive in some cases, Mr. Murray said.

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