KPMG has stolen a march on its ‘Big Four’ rivals with the launch of what is thought to be the first significant investment fund established by any of the major accountants.
It is understood that KPMG senior partner Simon Collins has authorised an initial $100m (£74.8m) to be poured into a fund dedicated to investing in data and analytics businesses.
KPMG Capital form partnerships with tech boffins or buy their ideas and start-ups in what will help the wider group upgrade its own systems, from improving invoicing processes to hooking up clients with the latest and most efficient computer software.
Mr Collins told The Independent: “I haven’t seen anything else like this, I think it’s the first global fund that has been set-up [by one of the big accountants].
“We’re obsessed with technology at the moment and we want to be right on top of technology as it develops.”
The first investments are likely to be made within a few weeks and could be of any size. KPMG Capital does not have any external investors, meaning that there are no third party constraints on the type, quantity, or budget of deals that it makes.
“If you think about how technology is developed, it isn’t just by PLCs, but university academics working in their garages at the weekend or a couple of teenagers from a bedroom,” said Mr Collins.
“We need to be quicker, more agile [to identify and invest in those opportunities]. I think this demonstrably shows that we’re investing in things that will also better serve our clients.”
The fund will be based in London and will be topped-up with more money from its parent should the investments prove successful.
Ultimately, Mr Collins said, further funds dedicated to other industry sector investments could be raised.
KPMG Capital chief executive Mark Toon, who also heads up the accountant’s data and analytics practice, added: “Through partnerships with technology and service providers, strategic partners and other third parties, we aim to accelerate innovation in data and analytics to bring potential solutions to clients – and to the market – faster.”
The bean-counting giant signalled its interest in technology earlier this year when it based a team in east London’s ‘Tech City’.
Politicians want this area to eventually rival the US’s Silicon Valley, with Facebook, Google and Vodafone among the big name technology giants that have pledged their support to the hub.