MassMutual Forms $100 Million Corporate Venture Capital Fund

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The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company on Thursday announced its new corporate venture capital firm, called MassMutual Ventures LLC, which will have $100 million to invest in start-up companies and entrepreneurial businesses.

The firm is a small piece of the insurer’s overall investment portfolio of $126.53 billion. MassMutual Ventures is based in Boston and plans to invest in new businesses aligned to the strategy of MassMutual, such as those that specialize in financial technology, consumer internet technology, digital health and cyber security.

“The idea is to be investing in businesses that potentially could help accelerate the overall strategy of MassMutual, but also generate good investment returns,” said Doug Russell, MassMutual’s senior vice president of strategy and corporate development.

The fund is new, and it has not yet made its first investment. MassMutual hopes to gain insight into new technologies and business models as a result of actively investing in the start-up businesses.

“I think we’re seeing tremendous opportunity,” Russell said. “There’s a number of businesses and technologies that are forming.”

The venture capital firm allows MassMutual to be an integral part of entrepreneurs and early-stage companies that MassMutual wouldn’t necessarily partner with in its usual operations, or as a function of the company’s general investment account, he said.

The venture capital has two other employees — Eric Emmons, who was the head of Siemens Venture Capital North America for five years, and Mark Goodman, founder of two venture capital funds, Terawatt Ventures and Brookline Ventures. The firm will make investments in businesses across the U.S.

“The insurance and investment services markets are on the cusp of significant technology-driven change, and MMV provides MassMutual an opportunity to help develop and implement new platforms and product offerings,” Emmons said in a prepared statement.

Corporate venture capital firms are common among large companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Google, Comcast, Verizon and General Electric.

MassMutual is based in Springfield and has offices in Enfield.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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