Eleven companies showcased their innovative fintech propositions at the Barclays Accelerator demo day in New York. Eight of these companies have already signed contracts with the bank. The demo day followed 13 weeks of intensive networking, mentoring and development.
The Barclays Accelerator program, offered in partnership with the Techstars global networks, includes mentorship and opportunities for financial technology startups to access industry experts, influencers and potential clients. The program covers all areas of fintech, from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to wealth management, investment banking, big data and cryptocurrencies.
The Accelerator program just concluded was the first to take place in New York. The next 13-week program will take place in London in January 2016. Barclays announced two further Barclays Accelerator programs that will run in Tel Aviv and in Cape Town in March 2016.
In June, Bitcoin Magazine reported that of the 10 firms taking in Barclays' 13-week Accelerator program in London seven were "exploring opportunities" with the bank. Barclays signed a deal with Safello, a Swedish company that participated in the fintech accelerator program in London, to explore how the blockchain could be used in traditional finance.
“At Barclays, we’re embracing the digital revolution, exploring innovations early on so that we can help to shape their development and co-create the future of financial services with these startups," said Barclays’ chief design and digital officer Derek White. “We're leading the industry with new pioneering technologies, which will be paramount to helping us achieve our ambition of becoming the 'Go-To' bank."
In March, speaking at the Morgan Stanley European Financials Conference in London, Barclays’ CEO Antony Jenkins warned that the “banking sector has not yet felt the ‘full disruptive force’ of technology – but it will.” He elaborated on the growing concern among financial institutions that faster, cheaper payment systems will start to seduce their consumer and business customers in the coming years.
“It’s amazing to be part of the burgeoning fintech ecosystem in New York City and play an active part in the transformation of the industry,” said Jenny Fielding, managing director of Techstars. “The eleven startups in this class are each tackling a different part of financial services, providing further evidence that the category is a massive market opportunity. Working in unison with Barclays has proven to be a strong partnership for these high-growth startups and we're excited to roll out additional fintech programs worldwide.”
Two of the fintech companies selected by Barclays have a special focus on blockchain technology.
Barclays’ financial crime and transaction monitoring teams will be using Chainalysis’ tools for in-depth real-time blockchain transaction analysis to obtain information from the blockchain about their customer’s financial transactions. Chainalysis, based in Switzerland, offers a service that provides financial institutions with the means to obtain regulatory compliance through real-time analysis of the blockchain.
It is evident that Bitcoin is moving toward mainstreaming and regulations, and therefore services such Chainalysis are here to stay, but such services likely will continue to meet opposition from an important part of the Bitcoin community. In April Bitcoin Magazine reported that a leaked Chainalysis roadmap, now trending on Reddit, has been received with anger and hostile comments.
In August, Bitcoin Magazine reported that Barclays will be the first major bank to help selected customers – UK charities – to receive bitcoin payments directly in their bank accounts, establishing an important precedent. It can be expected that, after this first initiative focused on charities, Barclays could consider gradually allowing ordinary business and residential customers to receive bitcoin payments. In this context, Chainalysis’ system could allow Barclays to discriminate good customers from bad customers in full compliance with applicable over-regulations.
Wave, a company that developed a peer-to-peer and completely decentralized network that connects all carriers, banks, forwarders, traders and other parties of the international trading supply chain, will experiment with blockchain-based tools to help business clients reduce costs associated with supply chain management in collaboration with Barclays’ Corporate Bank.
The Barclays Accelerator program, offered in partnership with the Techstars global networks, includes mentorship and opportunities for financial technology startups to access industry experts, influencers and potential clients. The program covers all areas of fintech, from […]