The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Rumi Morales, CME Ventures
As Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th century sufi poet, said: “What you seek is seeking you.” It is a quote that could apply to Rumi Morales, executive director and head of CME Ventures following the departure of Mark Fields to one of its portfolio companies, Wickr.
Morales runs a three-person VC team with Brandon Gath and Justin Strausbaugh, and has found a role that fits her areas of interest and expertise, though she noted it was always a challenge to find time for both supporting existing portfolio companies and investing in new ones.
It is a balance she has found, as CME Ventures by the end of last year had made 22 investments in 14 portfolio companies, with 11 public:
• Dwolla, a real-time payment network, series D round with Andreessen Horowitz.
• 1QBit, a quantum computer software company, series A and B round with Royal Bank of Scotland.
• Powerlytics, an economic data software company, series A convertible note.
• Ripple, a payment protocols company, series A and B round with IDG and Santander Ventures.
• Fortscale, a security and user behaviour analytics company, series A with Intel Capital and Blumberg Capital.
• Wickr, a secure communications platform run by Mark Fields as CEO, series A and B with Breyer Capital and Alsop Louie Partners.
• SparkCognition, a developer of cognitive analytics for the internet of things, series A with Verizon Ventures.
• Digital Currency Group, a blockchain fund, series A with Bain Capital Ventures and RRE.
• Digital Asset Holdings, a blockchain applications company founded by former JPMorgan Chase banker Blythe Masters, series A with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.
• Orbital Insight, a satellite image analysis company, series B with Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
• Nervana Systems, a deep-learning cloud company in which CME backed the series A with Data Collective and DFJ Capital. It was acquired by Intel last year for a reported $400m.
This portfolio reflects Morales’ areas of expertise, which include artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, which CME parses into three main sectors for investment – digitisation, security and next-generation data. These areas chime with the group’s needs.
John Pietrowicz, CME’s chief financial officer, said: “Market participants around the world rely on CME Group for managing their risk across every major asset class, so it is critical for CME Group to stay ahead of technology innovation. Rumi has provided outstanding direction for CME Ventures, ensuring we invest strategically with partners who are pioneering technologies in spaces that could affect financial markets in the future, including artificial intelligence, digitisation and cybersecurity, among others.”
Before November 2013’s move to CME Ventures, Morales was executive director in the financial exchange provider’s international corporate development and finance unit, where she sourced, structured and negotiated international business development opportunities with other global exchanges.
Before joining CME Group, she spent several years at investment bank Goldman Sachs, last serving as head of the Asia arm of its Global Markets Institute based in Hong Kong. Prior to Goldman Sachs, she was a principal at venture capital firms based in New York, London and Kuala Lumpur, including Beechtree Capital and Petra Group.
She received an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business, and has been listed among Institutional Investor’s 2015 and 2016 Fintech Finance 35 most powerful dealmakers in financial technology. She is reported to have advised the mayors of Chicago and London on the importance of financial innovation.
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