WILMINGTON – Chip Mahan, the Wilmington entrepreneur who has led the building of Live Oak Bank and rapidly growing cloud financial firm nCino, alongside partner Gene Ludwig unveiled a $545 million investment fund targeting the fintech sector on Wednesday under the name Canapi Ventures.

The firm drew a wide range of investors, including banks and financial institutions as well as the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers Association.

Launched in 2018 and already with 11 employees, Canapi operates offices in Wilmington as well as Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Canapi Ventures

Canapi will target for backing “entrepreneurs building enterprise solutions for the financial services industry of the future,” the investment firm announced.

The amount of capital is welcome news in North Carolina where investment capital from the region remains relatively scarce. And the state does have a growing fintech sector led by nCino as well as Charlotte-based AvidXchange.

Joining what it describes as the Canapi Alliance are 23 of the nation’s top 100 banks.

“Much of the financial services industry is running on software created decades ago, and we are at an inflection point where that has to change,” said Mahan in the announcement.

“Canapi is here to connect banks to the innovators who aim to make that change happen and truly revolutionize the fundamentals of our industry.”

Added Ludwig:

“Banks are looking for technology partners that can help them thrive and innovate in a rapidly changing and hyper-competitive market. We believe many of these solutions have to come from early stage companies and that is why we launched Canapi Ventures.

“The best early stage company founders seek investment partners who not only provide capital but possess deep domain expertise and an ability to help fintech companies tangibly grow revenue and customers. We believe our model is unique in that it aligns the interests of both banks that want to use innovative technologies as well as the companies creating those technologies and represents a true ‘win-win’ for all parties involved.”

Other members of the team include: Partners Walker Forehand, Neil Underwood, Dan Beldy, and Jeff Reitman plus Senior Advisors Jeffrey Goldstein and Jim Hale

Ludwig and Mahan bring extensive experience to Canapi’s leadership as co-managing partners, as noted in their bios posted at the Canapi website:

Chip Mahan Canapi Ventures image)

Mahan’s bio

Chip Mahan has built his career revolutionizing the banking industry.

He founded and currently serves as CEO and chairman of Live Oak Bancshares, headquartered in Wilmington, NC. Its commercial banking subsidiary, Live Oak Bank, specializes in providing lending and deposit services to small businesses nationwide. Live Oak Bank was selected as the winner of the 2018 BAI Global Innovation Awards in the internal process innovation category for converting all bank operations to the cloud.

Chip serves on the board of directors for Apiture, a joint venture between Live Oak and First Data which focuses on creating next-gen technology for financial institutions. He is also a director of Payrailz, a digital payments company which offers advanced solutions for the financial services industry. Chip is a co-founder of nCino, a cloud-based banking software built on the Salesforce platform.

Chip was the CEO and chairman of S1 Corporation and founder of Security First Network Bank, one of the world’s first internet banks. He began his career in 1973 at Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington & Lee University.

Ludwig’s bio

Gene Ludwig Canapi Ventures photo)

With over 40 years of financial services experience, Gene Ludwig is widely recognized for his expertise in fintech regulatory and compliance matters.

Gene co-founded Promontory Interfinancial Network, which has provided hundreds of billions of dollars in funding to its network of approximately 2,900 financial institutions. Gene is the founder and CEO of Promontory Financial Group, now an IBM company, which is recognized as a premier regulatory and compliance consulting firm for financial services and fintech companies.

Gene has proved an adept investor in the community banking sector. CapGen Financial, a $500 million community bank private equity fund founded by Gene and others in 2006, began investing prior to the financial crisis.

Gene served under President Clinton as the 27th Comptroller of the Currency, the head of the federal agency responsible for supervising the preponderance of U.S. banking assets. He earned a J.D. from Yale University. Gene received a master’s as a Keasbey Fellow from Oxford University and graduated magna cum laude from Haverford College.