Entrepreneurialism is increasingly identified as a major catalyst for future global growth, and its relationship with technology is driving innovation at a rapid pace. Richard Phelps explains how the Barclays Accelerator programme is designed to harness the exciting potential of FinTech start-ups.

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If you’ve ever had a chance to read our blog page, you may have seen my own musings about the various entrepreneur initiatives which we run at Barclays. Our annual calendar is packed with activity as we look to support entrepreneurs up and down the UK, and some of the highlights so far have included the Entrepreneurs Index, hosting workshops at the Hay Festival and supporting the Fast Track 100 programme.

The collective influence that entrepreneurs have on society and the economy is clearly very positive and we are committed to supporting entrepreneurialism, especially as the Barclays Group has the platforms and infrastructure to help at every stage of the entrepreneur journey.

With this in mind, and given Barclays’ proud tradition of banking and technology innovation - we were the first UK bank to have an ATM (1967), Barclaycard issued the UK’s first contactless card (2007), and more recently Barclays was the first bank in Europe to offer a person-to-person payment facility with Pingit (2012) – I was delighted to visit the site of one of our latest programmes, the ‘Barclays Accelerator’.

Supporting external innovation

For those of you who don’t know, the Barclays Accelerator is a unique collaboration with Techstars, and the first financial technology accelerator of its kind. It officially launched in June and 300 companies from nearly 50 countries had applied for 10 spaces, all seeking to help shape the future of financial services.

The quality of entrants was so impressive that we found it hard to narrow the results down to 10 spaces, so we ended up creating an extra space and choosing 11 winners, from an exciting mix of backgrounds and experiences. They include an alternative to payday loan providers and a peer-to-peer funding platform to help raise deposits for residential mortgages. The full list of chosen participants includes, in no particular order:

  • Aire
    Enabling financial access for consumers through a next generation credit scoring algorithm.
  • ClauseMatch
    Providing a cloud platform for matching and negotiating master agreements for trading over-the-counter derivatives and commodities.
  • Glimr
    Providing an in-store experience and payments platform, making it possible to send targeted messages to shoppers based on proximity to products.
  • Squirrel
    Helping employees regain control of their finances and achieve financial peace of mind.
  • NoviCap
    Enabling businesses in credit-tight markets to quickly access growth financing by auctioning their outstanding invoices to investors.
  • Tryum
    Delivering the Oyster Card for the restaurant industry – a simple, central way to manage loyalty and payments across multiple retailers.
  • Crowdestates
    Creating peer-to-peer secured lending platform for residential mortgage deposits for residential mortgage deposits.
  • DoPay
    Providing financial access to employees through a corporate payroll service.
  • Market IQ
    Providing actionable intelligence for investment professionals based on both structured (company financials) and unstructured data (social, news, blogs) for capital market professionals.
  • Gust Pay
    Making music festivals more cashless using NFC wristbands and smartphone apps.
  • Vieweet
    Providing a combination of new technologies into a single immersive experience in the form of 3D augmented reality and interactive 360 degree virtual tours for the real estate, retail and social sector.

The programme has clearly attracted some very exciting talent partly because there is a seed funding arrangement in place, but also because for the duration of the 3 month programme the teams are provided with guidance and support on how to grow and develop their business. There is also expert mentoring on offer from renowned FinTech entrepreneurs, as well as Barclays executives and Managing Directors from Techstars.

After 12 weeks of support and guidance, the culmination is a Barclays Executive Demo Day and a Public Investor Demo Day in London later this month.

Our commitment to innovation

As I mentioned earlier, Barclays has a proud tradition of technology innovation, and strives to be the leader in our field as we continue to recognise the need for client experience to be more agile and seamless. We try to foster a culture of innovation within Barclays but at the same time we know that external expertise can help us deliver this more quickly. That is why our partnership with Techstars is important because the collaboration can help drive the Accelerator participants forward, as we all look to make a difference with our products and services.

We are also committed to helping entrepreneurs, and each division of Barclays has the ability to offer support. In the Wealth and Investment Management division, we can offer entrepreneurs the support they need for themselves and for their families, while our Corporate & Employer Solutions team can help entrepreneurs with their business and employee strategies.


If you have any questions about this initiative, and would like to enquire about attending our Investor Demo Day towards the end of the month, please don’t hesitate to contact your Private Banker.

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If you have questions relating to the articles, please contact your Private Banker.