Open To Problem – Why Barclays Is Supporting Fintech Startups


You don’t want me to let you know that fintech startups are attracting eye-watering sums of investor money however let’s simply take a fast take a look at the figures anyway, 

In response to a worldwide report revealed final week by skilled companies agency KPMG, there have been 5,684 fintech offers in 2021, taking funding to $210 billion. Not fairly a report, however a very good yr, nonetheless.

However funding apart,  life isn’t essentially simple for founders within the sector. Though many come from a monetary companies background, they face vital challenges relating to navigating the street that runs from concept to scalable enterprise. Some will got down to be consumer-facing and, due to this fact,  face stiff competitors not solely from the incumbent behemoths of the monetary companies market but additionally from different fintechs at a extra superior stage of the expansion curve. In the meantime, these looking for to promote their expertise to incumbents have their very own hurdles to climb. An enormous hole lies between company companies and startups when it comes to assets, market information, tradition and velocity of determination making. Startups typically don’t discover it simple to get a foot within the company door.  

So, relating to promoting to or partnering with main gamers, loads will depend on the perspective of incumbent banks or different establishments. How open are they to new concepts pitched by founders? 

UK-headquartered financial institution, Barclays is a type of looking for not solely to construct relationships with fintechs – who may at some stage change into suppliers or companions – it is usually actively serving to early-stage companies discover a market.  

The financial institution’s newest initiative – in partnership with company enterprise builder, Rainmaking – is the Rise Startup Academy.  Geared toward startups across the membership, Rise is actually a digital accelerator designed to assist founders develop their concepts to the purpose the place they are often taken to the market and scaled up.   

Chatting with the banking group’s Chief Innovation Officer, Mariquit Corcoran, I’m eager to search out out why Barclays is encouraging the event of companies which may in the future disrupt the monetary companies sector and in doing so rock the boat for giant banks. 

Not Going Away   

“Early on we recognised that fintech wasn’t going away,” she says. “And the problem to the way in which we work is a constructive factor. They’re difficult us to do higher.”  

However Barclays just isn’t looking for merely to be challenged by younger pretenders. As Corcoran acknowledges, the Group’s assist of fintech innovators opens a door to nearer contacts and attainable partnerships within the brief, medium or longer-terms. Fintechs are creating a minimum of among the options that may assist form banking sooner or later.   

As she explains, the Rise Startup Academy  – which is now open for purposes and can convey contributors onboard on a rolling foundation – is trying particularly for founders who’re nonetheless on the concepts stage. This system itself is on-line and thus open to anybody, no matter geography, though the main target when it comes to options is on Europe and North America.  

Key Themes 

Barclays is favoring sure themes, specifically wealth equality, local weather change and merchandise for Era Z, however there may be additionally area for good concepts that don’t essentially match into these classes. 

“We’re additionally making a name out to numerous founders,” says Corcoran. “We’re encouraging underrepresented teams to use.”  

All effectively and good, however what’s in it for the founders? Nicely, at first, there isn’t any dilution. “The 20-week program is fairness and cost-free, “Corcoran stresses. 

These participating have entry to program materials on a 24/7 foundation and there may also be workshops and entry to people from throughout all elements of the Barclays operation, together with retail and funding banking. “We’ve got specialists that run the spectrum,” Corcoran says.  

A part of the accelerator’s function is to bridge the institutional/startup divide. There’ll, for instance, be classes on topics reminiscent of pitching to a financial institution. “If you wish to promote to a financial institution, you must perceive how the financial institution thinks,” says Corcoran. 


Turning to this system companion, Rainmaking, Corcoran factors to the corporate’s monitor report in working with giant corporates to construct new ventures. By its subsidiary, Startup Bootcamp, Rainmaking has accelerated greater than 900 ventures throughout 100 cohorts. “They’re extremely skilled and knowledgable,” says Corcoran. 

Additional down the road, there are plans to launch a Development Academy and a Enterprise Studio. From the attitude of Barclays, initiatives reminiscent of these undoubtedly make sure the financial institution will likely be within the innovation loop. For founders. Nicely, this system is cost-free, particular to the business, provides entry to business figures and doesn’t require relocation to London or New York. With purposes open, it supplies one other improvement possibility.


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