Google veteran launches 'digital family office' backed by Betsy Cohen, Eric Schmidt

FILE PHOTO: Caesar Sengupta poses for a picture after an interview with Reuters in New Delhi, India, August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

(Reuters) -Arta Finance, a fintech that aims to replicate the family office experience for a wider audience through artificial intelligence, debuted on Wednesday with $90 million in funding from investors who include Betsy Cohen and former Google chief Eric Schmidt.

Calling the operation a "digital family office," Arta CEO Caesar Sengupta, who led Google's payments initiatives until 2021, said the startup will offer AI-personalized portfolios and alternative investments to accredited investors in the United States, with the aim of eventually expanding to non-accredited investors on a global scale.

While family offices cater to those with hundreds of millions in assets, Arta is targeting those with $100,000 to several million dollars in investable assets, Sengupta said.

"Technology and AI have gotten to the point where we can take a lot of what these family offices do, and using technology, scale it in a way that it can be offered to everyone," he said.

The venture, which is also funded by Ribbit Capital, Coatue Management and Sequoia Capital India, will be jointly based in Mountain View, California, and Singapore.

BNY Mellon's Pershing will serve as Arta's broker and custodian and offer credit lines to eligible investors.

"It's pretty exciting for us as a 238-year-old bank... to be on the leading edge of something as innovative as Arta [Finance] is," said Pershing CEO Jim Crowley.

Although Arta is still finalizing its fees, it aims to offer performance-based pricing.

Though high inflation and rising interest rates are challenging for a startup, they underscore the need for a platform like Arta, said Sengupta and Crowley.

"We're actually really trying hard to scale as much as we can to get to as many people who we can serve," said Sengupta.

(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Lananh Nguyen, Cynthia Osterman and Josie Kao)

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