Barclays to Open Europe’s ‘Largest FinTech Accelerator’

April 25, 2017

While its sissy peers focus on their impending Brexits, Barclays is looking to take its London fintech creds all the way up to eleven.

 

The Memo:

 

Next week banking giant Barclays will cut the ribbon on what it’s calling Europe’s largest co-working space dedicated to financial technology.

 

More than 40 companies will be housed across the vast 30,000 sq ft of workspace, spread over seven floors, with four balconies and two mezzanines.

 

The site is already being called a clear sign of London’s continued dominance in the financial technology sector, despite the dark cloud of Brexit over the capital.

 

We’re not sure about that last sentence, but at any rate, the site will also house Barclays’ fintech innovation arm, Rise. The bank apparently runs seven Rise workplaces across the globe, including one in New York and Tel Aviv, though the “London Rise” is slated to become Barclays’ flagship workspace.

 

Here’s what Lubaina Manji, Barclays head of Rise, told The Memo:

 

“Barclays needs to accelerate innovation in fintech and knows this cannot just be done internally. We built Rise as a platform to engage with the fintech community, to tap into their agility and their disruptive minds, matching fintechs with the business challenges that we face as an incumbent bank.”

 

The bank’s recent shift into the fintech arena comes after the Brexit caused significant problems for the U.K.’s traditional banking industry. It isn’t the only bank that did so, though; most of the bulge bracket firms have launched similar ventures into the space. In 2016 alone, Goldman Sachs has backed 17 fintech companies while Citi has funded 9. Barclays, however, appears to be the most aggressive; it funded 23 firms last year – an over 50% jump from 2015 – and unlike Goldman, it appears to be actually using these investments to enhance its businesses. Let’s see how it goes for them.

 

Photo: Shannon McGee

 

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