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The Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars is excited to open its applications for the next London programme starting in January 2020. We look forward to working with talented and driven entrepreneurs who are redesigning the financial sector for both enterprise and consumer services. Start your application now or request office hours with the accelerator team.

In its 7th year of operation, our programme has had the privilege of working with some of the smartest minds in the fintech space. We bring together two powerful global networks – that of Barclays and Techstars – to provide a transformative experience for the startups that go through our programme. Alumni companies from across all Barclays Accelerator programmes are collectively valued at over $1 billion to date. The Barclays Accelerator was recently voted the top European accelerator across all categories.

Below, you’ll learn more about our areas of interest, the benefits of being based out of London, what the Barclays Accelerator programme has to offer, and how to meet with us during office hours as we source startups for our 2020 class.

What are the Accelerator’s areas of interest?

Every part of the financial sector and how it has been architected are open to innovation and change. In many areas, enterprises and consumers continue to do things in ways that are over a century old. We want to work with entrepreneurs who are changing this status quo and shaping the next generation of financial services. 

Specifically, we are interested in entrepreneurs working in capital markets, data sciences, asset management, sustainable investing, mortgage lending, point of sale and personal lending, and B2B enterprise tech solutions for the financial sector.

Above all, we want to engage with exceptional entrepreneurs across all areas of fintech. We especially welcome applications from minority and women entrepreneurs.

Is London the city I want to be in?

The short and resounding answer is: YES!

Are you worried about Brexit? Anxious about what it means for financial services and your startup? You shouldn’t be.

London is, and will remain, the financial capital of the world. Over 500 years of financial infrastructure, an entrepreneurial culture, and a unique position in the global financial system isn’t going to disappear. London is the most active and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe. 

Our city has one of the largest concentrations of financial service firms from across the world, potential clients, the most progressive finance regulator in the world, abundant access to early stage funding, and experienced fintech mentors and advisors. London remains a gateway to sell into the world. This powerful mix of factors is unrivalled – and the reason so many of our alumni companies have achieved success.

Why Barclays? Why Techstars?

Barclays is extremely committed to fintech. With 16 completed programmes to date, over 160 fintech companies have been through the Barclays Accelerator. Barclays recently established Rise Growth Investments, investment capital of up to £10 million per Accelerator class, that can be used for follow-on investment in the companies upon finishing the programme. In addition to this, being close to Barclays’ headquarters in London gives startups access to industry experts, technologists, data scientists and business sponsors from Barclays that can offer each startup highly personalised feedback, potentially leading to pilots and proofs-of-concept with the bank.

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Our programmes are designed to help you gain traction through deep mentor engagement, rapid iteration cycles, and fundraising preparation. We accept only 10 startups per programme enabling us to offer each startup a customised, high-touch experience based on the unique needs and skills of each founding team. Over 1,900 startups have been through our programmes and these alumni companies have raised more than $7.6 billion in funding. 87% of these startups are still active or have been acquired. Techstars can materially improve the odds of your startups success. You can learn more about the benefits of our accelerators here.

Tell me about the format of the programme? What are the terms?

We run a three month programme out of Rise London, the #HomeOfFinTech, in Shoreditch. Spread across seven floors, Rise London has one of the highest densities of fintech companies and talent in London. 

Like all Techstars’ accelerators, the anchor of our programme is “Mentor Madness”. Selected startups will have the opportunity to engage with about 100 of Europe’s top fintech mentors who will advise you on your business model, go-to-market strategy, technology, pricing, scaling up, IP, and fundraising. Many of our mentors go on to become angel investors and advisory board members of the startups they advise.

During the programme we host masterclasses given by experts on practical subjects including term sheets, marketing, sales, branding, legal, tech and also run curated sessions for founders’ stories. Last year the founders of Habito, Simudyne, Cuvva, Shieldpay, Sunguard among other companies spent time with the startups and shared their experiences of how they built their businesses. 

Our programme culminates with a Demo Day showcase where participating companies get a chance to engage with investors, clients, media and other members of the ecosystem. Last year over 550 people, including 200+ investors, attended our Demo Day event.

Every startup that joins our programme is offered the same terms.. We invest $20,000 in each company, and offer an optional $100,000 convertible note. In return for joining the programme and access to the Techstars network for life, we take 6% ordinary stock in each company. We are the only accelerator programme that offers an equity back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with our programme. 

Come meet us

If you are excited by our fintech programme, come meet us. We look forward to interacting with you in person or over a video call. 

Last year, we received applications from 67 countries. While we can’t travel to every country, we welcome applications from across the world. Starting late August through September, we will be hosting in-person and video office hours in the following locations:

    • UK: London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow among other cities
    • North America: New York, Boston, Toronto and Vancouver
    • Europe: Dublin, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Vilnius, Madrid and Lisbon 
    • Asia: Tel Aviv, Mumbai and Singapore

Once we announce our roadshow calendar for visiting these cities, you will be able to book office hours to meet us in person or over a video call. Periodically check this blog for our up to date calendar and office hours schedule, and follow us on Twitter for regular updates on: @CorpusKV and @Fabio_Maffioli. Request office hours with us here

What do our alumni companies have to say about the programme?

“Being part of the Barclays London Techstars programme has allowed us to accelerate beyond any normal ramping for an early stage startup. The programme has opened doors to a global network of connections and resources that has helped build and scale a business that would typically take five years to establish.” Leanne Kemp – CEO, Everledger

“Techstars really helped to polish our message and our focus and also brought a huge amount of interested investors. We originally planned to raise $1.5m and we are now oversubscribed at $3.5m with a possibility to go even higher. From all the accelerators we have been a part of (Plug and Play in SV, K-Startup Challenge in Korea, Techcode in SV and China, Creative Destruction Labs in Canada, and Mastercard Labs), the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars stands far above all of them and there really is no comparison.” Payson Johnston – CEO, Crowdz (ultimately ended up raising $5.5m)

“The Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars programme was a truly transformational experience for Cuvva; we were able to expand our network of supporters by a factor of ten, re-align the direction of the company and eventually partner with the second biggest global reinsurer, all in the space of 12 weeks!” Freddy Macnamara – CEO, Cuvva

“The main motivation for us at AgentCASH to apply for the programme was to access fintech investors and high-profile industry experts – something that completely paid off. It would have taken years to accomplish this if we had tried to build the network on our own. Some of the Techstars mentors, like Gary Turner, Managing Director of Xero, become big supporters of our company.” Sasa Sarunic – CEO, AgentCASH

“The Barclays Accelerator is a tremendous platform of growth for us. We were fortunate to move from two proof-of-concept uses of our software to 15 uses across the bank. Barclays gave us unparalleled access to senior technologists and opened itself up, in a safe way, as a sandbox so we could experiment. We went on to raise a financing round post programme and then signed a Global Framework Agreement with Barclays.” Ky Nichol – CEO, Cutover

“Being selected for the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars was transformational for our business. The access to mentors and advisers throughout the programme ensured we steered a course to success. The camaraderie amongst the cohort was amazing, strong relationships were forged and continue to grow. Introductions to senior personnel at Barclays were invaluable and enabled us to prove concepts. They bought our software and we continue to work closely with them.” Justin Lyon – CEO, Simudyne


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Kartik Varma Kartik Varma
Kartik Varma is the Managing Director of the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars based in London. Kartik has spent the past 20 years as an investor and entrepreneur across Europe, Asia and the US.