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Rumor: Nasdaq to Invest in Finance Tech

Sources say that financial-exchange operator Nasdaq is working on the blueprints for a venture capital fund to make strategic investments in financial technology firms whose products and services could help Nasdaq grow.

The venture capital program is expected to be “modest” compared to Nasdaq’s overall size but specific details are not known at this time. Nasdaq earned $2.3 billion in net revenue during 2016.

Although most people associate Nasdaq with its most public activity, running stock exchanges around the world, the firm is also one of the world’s largest technology providers for trading companies and other exchanges. If the rumors about a venture enterprise are true, the fund could provide a structure around investments Nasdaq has already made in finance tech start-ups. For example, Nasdaq has supported blockchain technology, a kind of open record-keeping tech that could reduce the cost of financial trades while improving speed and accuracy. Nasdaq has invested in Chain.com, a San Francisco blockchain-technology company. It has also invested in artificial intelligence firm Digital Reasoning.

"Areas of focus for us in terms of big projects are all around technology," said Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman. "It's a matter of making sure that we continue to take all of the new technologies that are available in the marketplace and ... offering them to our clients."