Centana Growth Partners has raised $250 million to invest in financial services startups.

Since its beginnings in 2015, Centana has invested in four companies, including the insurance technology company One and digital identity management firm Jumio. The New York-based limited partnership says it is hunting for other investment candidates and that it expects to put $5 million to $30 million into as many as 15 investments.

The $250 million was raised mostly through endowments, pension funds and non-profits, Ben Cukier, a founding partner of Centana, said in an email.

Abstract image of money superimposed over columned institution.
Investment targets
With the right capital, startups that offer innovative yet practical financial products "could strategically expand in exciting ways," says Centana's Ben Cukier. Adobe Stock

With the right capital, innovative companies that offer practical financial products “could strategically expand in exciting ways,” Cukier said in a news release this week announcing that it had finished raising capital for its first fund.

Centana is hoping to differentiate itself from other venture capital firms by pursuing “workhorses” — essentially, companies that will help incumbent companies improve on existing business models, Cukier said.

“We’ve found most venture capital is chasing unicorns, companies which will upend the current financial services world and exit for billions of dollars,” Cukier said.

Cukier added that it is looking at firms that are working on innovation in regulation, the exchange traded fund industry and customer authentication.

“We are looking for companies with real customers and revenue, and where our capital, knowledge and network can help accelerate or sustain rapid growth,” he said.

Centana has offices in New York and Palo Alto, Calif. It was founded by Eric Byunn, Steven Swain and Cukier. Byunn and Cukier were partners at FTV Capital, and Swain was most recently president of Global X Management.

“Having led the growth and strategy of a number of financial institutions, I strongly believe that the future of our industry will be driven by forward-thinking firms that are challenging the status quo,” Swain said in the release.