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E*Trade to start $300 million fund

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The world's second-largest consumer online brokerage is starting a $300 million venture capital fund to invest in b-to-b and business-to-consumer e-commerce companies. E*Trade Group, Menlo Park, Calif., will inject about $75 million into the fund and seek to raise the rest. The move could have big marketing impact; E*Trade could conceivably hawk IPO shares of the companies it invests in to its two million retail clients. Charles Schwab & Co. is the largest consumer online brokerage.
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