UBS innovation lab moves into Level39

Level39 will host the UBS innovation lab to support fintech startups

UBS has selected Level39 to house its innovation lab aimed at financial technology (fintech) startups.

Based in Canary Wharf, the accelerator will be led by fintech specialists with the aim of discovering how the Swiss bank can support startups in the sector.

UBS plans to utilise blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, along with smart contracts, to work on new applications. The technologies are designed to share financial transactions on a public ledger, to enhance transparency.

According to a report from Accenture, Europe was the fastest-growing region for fintech ventures globally between 2013 and 2014.

The Future of Fintech and Banking report revealed that despite the US still holding the majority share of fintech investment, Europe saw a growth rate of 215% in 2014, reaching $1.48bn.

Level39 head Eric Van der Kleij said the UBS team have already established their credentials at Level39 through mentoring at various accelerator programmes over the past two years.

“UBS understands that being part of the Level39 community is about becoming an even more relevant voice in the industry, as well as learning from up-and-coming talent," he said. 

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"In that sense, there are clear parallels between this programme and other Level39 initiatives, such as IBM’s Bluemix Garage, the part of IBM that is driving transformation through the business.”

According to UBS group CIO Oliver Bussmann, the firm is excited to be the first global bank to be part of the innovation ecosystem at Level39.

“By establishing a dedicated innovation lab at Level39, we are moving away from a purely in-house innovation strategy, optimising collaboration opportunities with the growing fintech business, startup and investor community in an open and transparent way," he said.

“Our innovation lab at Level39 will provide a unique platform to explore emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and to understand the potential impact for the industry.”

FinTech50 co-founder Julie Lake said it is good to see a global bank work with innovators who are helping to transform the financial services.

“UBS is already visibly engaged with the fintech sector through FinTech50 and an acknowledged leader in digitalising its core businesses, as well as developing award-winning innovations. We look forward to the new UBS initiatives in Level39 delivering value both for the bank and for its future technology partners," she said. 

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