Barclays launches fintech startup accelerator

Barclays is looking for innovative financial services technology (fintech) solutions by opening its own startup accelerator programme

Barclays has launched a startup accelerator programme to find innovative financial services technology (fintech) solutions.

The Barclays Accelerator is a three-month intensive programme that has welcomed 11 new businesses to its Barclays Escalator premises in East London.

It is powered by Techstars, the US-founded tech accelerator and will support new businesses and mould them to create innovative solutions in fintech.

Derek White, chief design officer at Barclays, said a massive disruption was happening to the financial services industry.

“Technology as a major driver of that, much of which is coming from the entrepreneur ecosystem,” he said. “Emerging technologies will transform our industry.”

With a history of innovative solutions, from the first ATM to the introduction of contactless cards, White believes Barclays has an opportunity to embrace these emerging technologies.

Antony Jenkins, group chief executive officer of Barclays, said: “I want Barclays to be the most tech-driven bank in the world. I believe in the power of technology to change banking."

But Jenkins said the bank doesn’t have the capability bandwidth and ingenuity to do this on its own, so the bank wants to tap into the ecosystem of startups.

More than 300 companies from 50 countries around the world applied for a place on the programme, and the selected 11 startup solutions range from an alternative to pay-day loans, to a next-generation credit-scoring system, to a peer-to-peer funding platform for real estate.

Barclays and Techstars will guide the startups and help them develop and grow their business through expert mentoring and advice from fintech entrepreneurs, Barclays executives and Techstars managing directors.

This will also be the first time the bank will open up some of its mobile application APIs, allowing the startups to try to build on existing Barclays innovation.

The companies will then present their businesses at the end of the summer at a Barclays Executive Demo Day and a Public Investor Demo Day in London.

Each of the businesses will also receive $20,000 seed funding from Techstars, while the companies could see Barclays becoming a potential investor in their business. Alex Scandurra, head of strategic partnerships at Barclays, said there is also the potential for the startups to start a commercial relationship with the bank, either as a key supplier, partner or joint licensee.

White said that the influx of startups is changing the way traditional big IT suppliers do business with banks. He said big established suppliers are starting to talk about how they can act more nimbly and innovate and disrupt themselves.

Large suppliers are even asking Barclays for advice on how to become more agile after the bank launched its mobile service PingIt in just seven months. “We have articulated the model as to how we acted as a startup internally to disrupt ourselves and we’re starting to industrialise that,” said White.

“They’re changing their engagement models with us as they seek to become more agile themselves,” he said. “I can count five large technology companies all of the names you would imagine have come to Barclays and have asked how we are doing it.”

The Barclays Accelerator startups

The Barclays Accelerator is based at the Barclays Escalator, a new open innovation space designed to support startups. The 11 businesses will build up their solutions in the space while having the opportunity to network and learn from others.

  1. Aire - Enabling financial access for consumers through a next generation credit scoring algorithm. (London, UK)
  2. ClauseMatch – Providing a cloud platform for matching and negotiating master agreements for trading over-the-counter derivatives and commodities. (Arundel, UK)
  3. Crowdestates – Creating a peer-to-peer secured lending platform for residential mortgage deposits. (London, UK)
  4. DoPay – Providing financial access to people through their corporate payroll service. (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  5. Gust Pay - Making music festivals more cashless using NFC wristbands and smartphone apps. (Cape Town, South Africa)
  6. Katalysator – Providing an in-store experience and payments platform, making it possible to send targeted messages to shoppers based on proximity to products. (Stockholm, Sweden)
  7. Market IQ - Providing actionable intelligence for investment professionals based on both structured (company financials) and unstructured datasets (Social, News, Blogs). (Seattle, USA/Toronto, Canada)
  8. NoviCap – Enabling businesses in credit tight markets to quickly access growth financing by auctioning their outstanding invoices to investors. (Barcelona, Spain)
  9. Tryum – Delivering the Oyster Card for the restaurant industry – a simple, central way to manage loyalty and payments across multiple retailers. (London, UK)
  10. Virtual View App – Providing augmented reality, together with interactive 360 degree images for social, retail, and commercial use. (London, UK)
  11. Wagevance - Providing an ethical and affordable alternative to payday loans, through wage-backed pay advances. (London, UK)


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