J.P. Morgan investment banker quits for new fintech-focused VC fund

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JPMorgan Europe Ltd headquarters, London

A J.P. Morgan deal-maker, who has spent the last 13 years at the bank working across equity capital markets and M&A, has just joined a tiny VC firm that will target fintech investments run by serial entrepreneur Mike Harris.

Salma Kalisvaart, a former executive director at J.P. Morgan in London, has quit Canary Wharf for Mayfair to become one of the only employees at a new VC firm called Monument Partners. Mike Harris, the founder of online banks First Direct and Egg Banking, is the founding partner at the firm. Kalisvaart also joined as a partner earlier this month.

According to its online profile, Monument Partners is in the process of creating a £200m fund to invest in fintech start-ups. It will make series A or series B investments within UK companies which have the potential to expand globally. For the past eight years, Harris has been running Find Your Lightbulb, a company which offers mentorship for what he describes as "would be game-changers". He has created his own programme called IconicShift, which he plans to use for the leadership teams of the fintech companies that Find Your Lightbulb invests in.

Monument Partners joins the growing roster of former senior financiers running their own firms to both invest in start-ups and also use their expertise to help grow the business. Andre Crawford Brunt, the former head of equities at Deutsche Bank, is now using his personal capital to invest in a series of start-ups and "offering advice where I can". Henry Ritchotte, the former head of Deutsche Bank's digital bank, launched RitMir Ventures in January, through which he is seeding a series of fintech start-ups.

Kalisvaart joined J.P. Morgan in 2004, after graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Cambridge. She started out on the UK equity capital markets team, but has also worked across both M&A, IPOs and general corporate finance over the course of the past 13 years. She was promoted to executive director in 2014, and left the bank in September.

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