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Barclays and Techstars show how corporate accelerators should work

Sam Shead | June 25, 2015
The Barclays accelerator is supported by Techstars, which has previously run technology accelerator programmes for Nike and Microsoft.

Barclays branch

Barclays has announced that it plans to continue working with seven of the 10 startups that have just been through its 13-week corporate accelerator programme.

The deals with each of the startups vary from proof of concept agreements through to paid contracts, with some contracts understood to be worth up to £100,000 each.

Bitcoin software startup Safello, for example, has signed a proof of concept (PoC) with Barclays to explore how blockchain technologies could be harnessed in the financial services sector. Barclays claims this is the first PoC of its kind that a UK high street bank has announced with a bitcoin company. Meanwhile, Post Quantum has signed a contract with Barclays to implement its cyber security solutions in a bid to help the bank increase its resilience to cyber threats.

Barclays announced its Techstars-powered accelerator programme in December 2013 and the 10 companies that have just graduated from the programme are part of the second cohort.

Through the accelerator, Techstars offers successful applicants seed funding of £12,500 in exchange for six percent equity, and gives them access to office space in London's Whitechapel, near Tech City. Startups are also given access to Barclays data and technology, mentorship and coaching from industry experts and introductions to the Techstars and Barclays networks.

Other corporates such as John Lewis, Accenture and BBC Worldwide have their own accelerators but they typically only offer contracts to a minority of startups accepted onto their programmes.

Barclays, which has a separate £100 million startup investment fund, also revealed that it is planning to run a version of its accelerator in New York, starting this July.

The financial giant held a demo day yesterday where it showcased the 10 startups it has been working with through its accelerator to a 400-strong audience of CEOs, CIOs and investors.

Derek White, Barclays chief design and digital officer, said: "[The event is] about celebrating the successes, partnership and an exciting future with some of the leading startups in the fintech ecosystem right now.

"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."

Greg Rogers, MD of Techstars, added: "Fintech is red hot right now. The ten startups in this class are each tackling a different part of financial services, providing further evidence that the entire category is under disruption. At Techstars, we are proud to play a role in this revolution, in partnership with Barclays as it leans forward into the changes of its industry."

A full list of the 10 fintech companies on the latest Barclays cohort:


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