Barclays has completed the first round of its financial services technology (fintech) startup accelerator, following a demo day.
In June 2014, the bank launched the programme to find innovative fintech businesses to enter a three-month acceleration period and obtain the guidance and skills needed to break into the industry.
At the demo day the 11 startups involved in the first wave pitched their ideas to important people in the industry – including angel investors, corporate partners and senior executives.
As part of the accelerator, which is backed by Techstars, participating startups are offered funding, as well as mentorship and workspace.
The small businesses receive a seed investment of $20,000 from Techstars, in exchange for a small amount of equity in the company.
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Barclays then provide the startups with working space in the Barclays Escalator in London, as well as mentors and access to the PingIt application programming interface (API). The startups have developed their business models over the past few months using this help.
“We’ve got two years of work done in just three months,” said Salvatore Ruocco from one of the selected startups Vieweet.
Chief design officer at Barclays Derek White said the bank is embracing startup businesses to ensure it is part of the next generation of banking.
"Startup businesess are delivering disruptive technology with fresh solutions to the challenges faced in financial services.
"We recognise the need to work with startups to create amazing products and services for our customers and clients, as we strive to become the go-to bank. The accelerator is a key part of this,” he said.
London has always been a hub for the financial services sector, and fintech startups are forcing larger firms to adopt a more agile approach.
How the Barclays Accelerator works
- Selected startups gain funding from Techstars
- Barclays provide space, mentorship and access to resources such as the PingIt API
- Startups pitch at a demo day to find potential investors
“Large firms recognise the need to work with startups, as the potential threat to the large partners becomes more real,” White explained at Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab earlier this year.
In July 2014, PayPal also announced it would launch an accelerator programme for technology startups, which would host five startups in its London offices for six months.
But recently, Technology startups and small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are finding London difficult due to high costs, lack of affordable office space and the skills gap.