American Express to invest $100M in digital commerce startups


Looking to expand its payment realm beyond the confines of the lowly credit card, American Express announced today that it plans to invest $100 million in startups and other companies that deal in digital commerce. The investment plan will take place over the next few years.

“American Express is a 162 year old company that has continuously reinvented itself,” said Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “As we enter the next chapter in our history, we recognize the need to work with emerging technology companies to inspire change, encourage innovation, and ultimately deliver the best products and services to our customers.”

The American Express digital payment initiative will be run out of a newly established office in Silicon Valley. The fund will be run by Harshul Sanghi, the company’s recently appointed vice president of its Enterprise Growth Group. Prior to his move to American Express in September, Sanghi ran Motorola Mobility Ventures. At American Express, he has been in charge of overseeing the company’s Serve online payment service, which is an alternative to PayPal.

“The payments industry is undergoing a fundamental change as the very nature of commerce is redefined,” said Mr. Sanghi in a statement. “We believe our global network of businesses and consumers, international employee base, world-class customer service and data analytics will provide a significant advantage to potential portfolio companies.”

It should come as no surprise that traditional payment companies like American Express are getting into digital commerce. The industry is quickly changing, with companies like Square and Facebook offering alternatives to the long-held status quo. It would seem American Express is doing what it can to stay head of the curve.

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