The top 25: Alokik Advani, managing partner, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures

Alokik Advani oversees Fidelity International Strategic Ventures (FISV), the UK-based strategic investment arm of US-headquartered financial services and investment group Fidelity, as managing partner.

Formed in 2018, the unit invests in entrepreneurs developing financial technology strategic to Fidelity, focusing on retail engagement, workplace investing, alternatives, sustainability, asset management tech stack and emerging tech.

FISV has 13 team members having most recently hired an analyst, an associate and a legal counsel in the past year. Since its inception, Advani has doubled the size of the team which stands at 13 today.

The fund has made 18 fintech investments across 13 portfolio companies across eight countries: the UK, Germany, Denmark, Israel, the US, Singapore, India and Canada.

In the past year, the unit has participated in rounds raised by equity management platform developer Capdesk, private markets investment platform Moonfare, digital trading technology provider DriveWealth and online investment marketplace PrimaryBid.

Ben Stanway, founder and chief executive of mobile savings and investment app operator Moneybox, said of Advani: “Alokik intuitively understands our challenges and opportunities and invariably provides actionable insight. He provides support throughout and challenges when necessary. I would recommend working with him to any ambitious founder.”

Matt Smith, co-founder and CEO of compliance technology developer SteelEye, added: “I feel very lucky to have someone so experienced, engaged and thoughtful on my journey.”

Moonfare founder and CEO Steffen Pauls also commented: “Since inception, we have been connecting our clients, some of the most sophisticated investors in the world, with top private markets funds. Fidelity’s clients and team will fit perfectly into this group going forward.”

Regarding the plans for the year ahead, Advani told Global Corporate Venturing: “One of the biggest criticisms of CVCs is that the investment teams have limited influence on the manifestation of strategic synergies, and so one of our key pillars is to ensure we can make those promises a reality.

“Besides making new investments related to or key themes for the year and supporting our existing portfolio companies, I am focused on realising the commercial partnerships and strategic synergies for each of our portfolio companies with Fidelity International.”

For the corporate venturing industry to move ahead, Advani advised: “Be honest with your ability to help startups – do not overpromise and underdeliver and acknowledge that these are young companies with limited funds and runway, and doing the 15th meeting with your senior management to demo the product is taking time away from other important activities.”

A native of Mumbai, India, Advani moved to the US to study at Ohio Wesleyan University and began his career as an analyst in the financial institutions group at Merrill Lynch in New York and has been investing on behalf of large financial institutions with a strategic lens since 2002.

Advani completed an MBA at Insead in France in 2005, returning to Merrill Lynch in its Principal Investments team in London. In 2008, he joined the Principal Strategic Investments team at Goldman Sachs in London and after two years moved to Hong Kong to help build out its Asia business in 2010. He managed that team from 2012 to 2018, when he joined Fidelity International to build out a strategic investments team in fintech first under the Eight Roads umbrella, and then in its current avatar as FISV.