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MassMutual unveils venture capital firm

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is launching a venture capital firm to invest in financial technology startups that will help the company improve its primary insurance and investment business.

The Springfield company will use $100 million from its general investment account to start MassMutual General Ventures LLC.

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The venture capital arm will invest in entrepreneurs who are working on digital health, cybersecurity, online financial advisory, and data analytic products, said Doug Russell, a senior vice president of the insurer.

Financial institutions, which have seen online and technology-based firms such as Google and PayPal eat into their market dominance, are increasingly putting their resources into developing new technology.

“We have a responsibility to policyholders to position the firm for continued success,” Russell said.

MassMutual will invest between $1 million to $5 million in the startups over about a four-year period, Russell said.

The technology companies will hopefully develop products that MassMutual and its competitors will be able to use, he said.

‘We have a responsibility to policyholders to position the firm for continued success.’

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The $100 million fund is a small portion of MassMutual’s $126.5 billion total general investment account, he said.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.
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