London Calling! Applications open – Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars

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








Techstars Accelerators Open Applications for 2020 Q1 Programs

Applications are now open for Q1 2020 Techstars mentorship-driven accelerators. These program spanning North America, Europe, and the Middle East are looking for the best entrepreneurs to join their 2020 programs. where they’ll experience 13 weeks of growth and business acceleration through hands-on mentorship, investment and access to the techstars worldwide network. 

Accelerators accepting applications as of today include:

    • Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator (NYC) – Apply Now
    • Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator, Powered by Techstars (Amsterdam) – Apply Now
    • Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars London (London) – Apply Now
    • BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars (Munich) – Apply Now
    • Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator powered by Techstars (Atlanta) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Anywhere Accelerator (virtual) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Bangalore Accelerator (Bangalore) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Berlin Accelerator (Berlin) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Boston Accelerator (Boston) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Boulder Accelerator (Boulder) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Chicago Accelerator (Chicago) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Hub71 Accelerator (Abu Dhabi) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next (Lisbon) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Seattle Accelerator (Seattle) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Smart Mobility Accelerator (Turin) – Apply Now
    • Techstars Toronto Accelerator (Toronto) – Apply Now

In every Techstars accelerator, founders spend three months working with other founders, mentors, corporate partners, and investors to drive their companies towards rapid growth and success. Join the nearly 2,000 startups that have raised over $7 Billion in funding, boast a collective market cap of $22 Billion, and have accelerated their businesses through a Techstars accelerator over the past 12 years.

Think your startup is a good fit? Connect with us to learn more about Techstars accelerator programs and how you can join our worldwide network of more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders to accelerator your startup, or apply now








10 Companies Redesigning the Financial Sector: Welcome to the 2019 Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in London

By Kartik Varma and Chris Adelsbach

We are thrilled to announce and to welcome 10 exciting companies to the 2019 Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in London.

Starting in the summer last year, we were on a mission to recruit the 10 best teams to join our programme. While many of our companies are based in Europe, our teams are incredibly global and diverse, coming from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and of course Europe. Companies in this class span financial services for the gig economy, cyber security, creation of new asset classes, risk management, credit card loyalty, insurance, asset leasing, and enterprise software.

It is a privilege to work with some of the best entrepreneurial talent around the world: they are redesigning the financial sector. Currently in its sixth year, the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars has solidified its reputation as the preeminent and most selective fintech programme in the world. Our growing list of successful alumni companies that are transforming financial services, like Everledger, Flux and Cuvva, is a testament to what our two powerful networks bring to the programme.

Barclays is shaping the banking landscape around the world at a time of rapid technological change and is the first partner of choice for some of the most promising fintech startups. Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed: the 1,600 portfolio companies of our 41 accelerators have raised over $6.5 billion in capital. Together, Barclays and Techstars are able to offer young companies the acceleration they need to set them on the path to success.

We’d like to thank our mentors, global partners, sponsors, and alumni for their time and generous support. We look forward to another great cohort—and to presenting these companies to you on Demo Day at Rise London on May 2, 2019!.

Trezeo

Trezeo offers the self-employed, particularly gig economy workers, financial services that turn unpredictable income into a regular pay cheque through an income smoothing solution.

www.trezeo.com

Spark Change

Spark is a financial instrument that makes investing in carbon as easy as investing in the stock market, allowing individuals to erase their carbon footprint.

www.sparkchange.io

UrbanFox

Urban Fox provides fraud detection and prevention software to enterprise scale merchants and payment processors targeting fraudsters who create fake online identities.

www.urbanfox.io

Smarter Human

Smarter Human’s technology lets digital banks and fintech firms manage operational risk as a part of the agile product delivery lifecycle so that managing risk and compliance is no longer a bottleneck to innovation.

www.smarter-human.com

Paid

Paid’s platform allows micro businesses and freelancers to get paid on time through its invoice financing at scale for low value invoices.

www.paid.co.uk

Photocert

Photocert’s software solution establishes and certifies the validity of visual evidence helping businesses like general insurance, on-demand asset rentals, and document certification to operate with efficiency and security reducing incidents of fraud and misinformation.

www.photocert.co.uk

Krowd

Krowd’s offer bidding marketplace provides personalized card linked offers to retailers and credit card issuers, allowing retailers to increase customer acquisition and retention and card issuers to increase usage.

www.krowdit.com

 

Inbotiqa

Inbotiqa’s enterprise business email solution aimed towards high volume and group mailboxes in financial institutions improves productivity and customer service levels through workflow management in middle and back offices.

www.inbotiqa.com

Capexmove

Capexmove’s software lets companies issue programmable debt to create tradable units, and thereafter track and settle them at a fraction of the cost of the current debt capital markets.

www.capexmove.io

Block Aviation

Block Aviation’s aircraft asset management software is creating a shared information platform to be used across the aviation ecosystem, reducing the cost of redelivery and facilitating efficient novations of aircraft leases.

www.blockaviation.com








Techstars Meet and Greet Chicago

DESCRIPTION

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,200 companies grow and raise over $4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $10 billion. Now we’re on a search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We currently have applications open for Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs around the world. Join our program staff for an evening of networking, Q&A, and a chance to show us what you’re currently working on. They will be there to connect with you, inspire you, answer your questions and tell you more about our programs.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

  • 7:00pm – Doors open, food and drinks served
  • 7.30pm – Techstars Presentation
  • 8.00pm – Question Time
  • 8.15pm – Open Networking

    Event ends 9.00pm







Techstars Meet and Greet New York

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,200 companies grow and raise over $4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $10 billion. Now we’re on a search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We currently have applications open for Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs around the world. Join our program staff for an evening of networking, Q&A, and a chance to show us what you’re currently working on. They will be there to connect with you, inspire you, answer your questions and tell you more about our programs.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

  • 7:00pm – Doors open, food and drinks served
  • 7.30pm – Techstars Presentation
  • 8.00pm – Question Time
  • 8.15pm – Open Networking

    Event ends 9.00pm







Applications to the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars are Now Open

Located in Rise London, the #HomeofFinTech, the program will start on 4th of February and Investor Day will be on the 5th of May. We are looking for exceptional founders who are enterprise-ready, tackling big, important problems in financial services.

We are specifically looking for founders using leading edge technology to provide better customer solutions in lending, regulatory and risk management, payments, wealth, loyalty, cyber-security, insurance and big data. Our definition of FinTech is broad and we welcome applications from founders across the world.

You can start your application now, but keep reading this blog for more information about how to meet us during our upcoming scouting trips.  Also, be sure to click on the link to the video webinar where I will tell you more about the program.  We ideally want to meet you in person or via video if possible and want to use that time to learn more about your company.

Meet the Team

We are holding office hours in London, New York, Toronto, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Dublin, Milan, Brussels and remotely through Skype. If you’d like to meet with us, please check out the date and times below, and fill out this meeting request form.

Remote on Skype: now – October 13

London: now – October 13

Dublin: 28-29th August

Paris: 5th September

New York: 10-11th September

Toronto: 12-13th September

Milan: 17-18th September

Amsterdam: 19-20th September

Stockholm: 24-25th September

Oslo: 26th September

We also recommend that you follow us on Twitter for specific updates and new event postings. Connect with us here: @chrisadelsbach and @fabio_maffioli.

Get to know a little about me and my thoughts about mentorship and FinTech in this interview in the The FinTech Times

Why Apply to the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars?

The best way to to find out about an accelerator program is to speak with those that have gone through it.  Shieldpay CEO, Peter Janes, who recently completed the worlds first fully digital real estate transaction, wrote about his experience after completing the program in 2017.

In addition, our program is considered world leading because:

Reason #1: You get access to amazing mentors

Our program is mentorship-driven and we find the people that have the network to help you succeed. Our mentors are a diverse and amazing collection of financial services executives, successful entrepreneurs, city power-brokers, top angel investors and venture capitalists, as well as amazing mentors with backgrounds in product, engineering, legal, marketing and finance. You also get instant access and mentorship to senior Barclays team members who define success as you being successful. Most of our mentors have been with us for years and are trusted, connected and effective as evidenced by the qualitative and quantitative feedback we get back from our founders.  A few of our mentors from last year were former CEO of the British Banking Association, Anthony Browne, co-founder of Funding Circle, Andrew Mullinger, Senior Advisor to the Bank of England, Tangy Morgan, and co-founder and MD of Xero, Gary Turner.

Reason #2: You really grow & accelerate your business

We help our companies make tangible progress and help grow and accelerate their business.  Historically nearly all companies enter demo day with a tangible proof of concept or pilot with at least one partner they meet on the program.  Increasingly, these pilots turn into significant relationships like what SimudyneCutover and Flux have announced with Barclays.  

Reason #3: Successful fundraising

Techstars is one of the most successful venture investors in the world.  We were seed investors in Uber, Twilio, SendGrid and Pill Pack just to name a few (a few unicorns).  And what’s more, because we find amazing companies early, other VC’s take notice.

The program culminates with Demo Day.  Founders are transformed from, frankly, average communicators to excellent story tellers.  Check out the video here!  You’ll present your business to a curated group of top tier investors and corporate partners. Each year we have about 600 people over two days in attendance, of which over half were VC’s or angels.  This is one reason why our alumni have the best record in securing funding.

Our program has had great success raising capital from tier one investors. Companies such as Everledger , Post QuantumAireRavelinDo PayCuvvaCutover, ShieldpayFluxClausematch, and Bokio are just a few examples. Globally, Techstars has the highest success rates for follow-on funding, with 154 successful portfolio company exits and $5.5 Billion of combined portfolio financing at a combined $14 Billion valuation.

Reason #4: You get a network for life

The Techstars worldwide network is one of the largest and fastest growing networks of entrepreneurs around the world. Once you are a part of Techstars, you are a part of Techstars for life, and you get to be part of the network that helps you go faster and accelerate your current and future businesses. For instance, Techstars has a team of five people in Silicon Valley that run partnerships and M&A which companies tap into many months or years after they finish the program.

Reason #5: In London, you are at the centre of the global FinTech scene

London is simply the best place to build a FinTech startup. You will be located within minutes of the world’s largest banks, asset management, and law firms. What’s more, a supportive government, forward thinking regulator and Europe’s largest VC ecosystem are all nearby (not that you’ll need to visit them as many of them treat our accelerator as a hub and regularly meet startups here)!

What Founders say About Their Experience

Our founders are like family.  Here is what some are saying about our program:

“The Techstars program 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 re-insurer, all in the space of 12 weeks!” Freddy Macnamara – CEO, Cuvva

“Being selected for the Barclays Techstars accelerator 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

“The Barclays Techstars 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

“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

“Courtsdesk went into the Techstars Barclays accelerator as an Irish startup with an MVP in testing, and came out 12 weeks later as a globally-networked, commercially-launched business, with an advisory board packed with C-suite executives from the most influential companies in our markets, and investors that we couldn’t have dreamed of beforehand.” Enda Leahy – CEO, Courtsdesk

“Atlas started with a big vision of banking the unbanked when we joined the program in 2015. 3 of the technical associates immediately gravitated towards Atlas and joined us in Senegal. Now, all 3 work for us full time and live with us in Ghana! Having access to this talent pool allowed us to initially test and grow our product as we had a small team with many holes to fill, but it more importantly, it resulted in us establishing a family culture early on that we are now adding to as we rapidly grow.” Mickey Costa – Co-MD, Atlas

“Being part of the Barclays London Techstars program has allowed us to accelerate beyond any normal ramping for an early stage startup. The program 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

“We entered the program as a company with 6 years of R&D behind it and a team comprised of founders at an older age than your average founder. Through the expert mentoring and privileged access offered, we were able to move quickly towards commercialisation.” Anderson Cheng – CEO, Post-Quantum








Announcing the 2018 Class of Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in London

We are thrilled to announce and welcome the next ten companies to the 2018 Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars. This programme has become, arguably, the most selective Fintech accelerator in the world with a growing list of alumni that are literally changing the face of financial services. Today is the first day of the programme that will run for the next thirteen weeks.  Demo day will take place at Rise London in Shoreditch on the 23 May 2018.

The programme brings together two powerful networks: Barclays, who is shaping the banking landscape and quickly making itself the first partner of choice of the most promising FinTechs, and Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.  The 1300 portfolio companies of Techstars have raised over $4.6 billion in capital and 139 have had been acquired. Together, Barclays and Techstars give founders the best chance for success.

In addition to being selective, this programme is remarkably global and diverse. Incredible British founders will be joined by entrepreneurs from Poland, Ireland, India, Canada and the USA. They were selected from an applicant pool focused on next generation technology for the financial services industry. Companies in this cohort have launched exciting businesses using technology to address opportunities in options trading, compliance, cyber-security, open banking, supply chain, legal, payments, insurance, property management and lending.

I’d like to thank our mentors, sponsors, partners and alumni for their generous support.  We look forward to another great cohort!

Keybot

Keybot helps property managers automate access for rental showings, maintenance, and short or long-term renters, without WiFi.

Audit XPRT

Audit XPRT harnesses the power of AI, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to automate compliance and auditing assurance.

Sitata

The Sitata app provides travellers with real-time alerts, access to emergency numbers and hospital locations and connects travellers to trusted doctors.

Cyber Productivity

Cyber Productivity’s automated accounting platform helps SMEs manage cashflow and allows banks to offer products based on real client’s needs.

Nimbla

Nimbla provides smart, simple and relevant insurance and financial products for SMEs.

UniZest

The Aspire account allows international students to open a bank account prior to leaving home, and even before they know their UK address.

Dev/ Con

Dev/ Con cyber security software eliminates advertising fraud by detecting, fixing, and monitoring both technical and organisational vulnerabilities.

Crowdz

Crowdz—the Blockchain- Commerce CompanyTM is the creator of the world’s first blockchain-based business-commerce transaction networks & ecommerce marketplaces.

Gatsby

Gatsby makes option trading accessible to everyone. With as little as $100, users can turn investments for or against companies and ETFs into big returns.

Oathello

Oathello helps busy solicitors and legal teams by giving them a tool to find, book, and pay for witnessing and notary services on demand.

 








Applications open for the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, in London

The Barclays London Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is searching for the next great startups to join the program. The program will start on 26th of February and the Investor Day will be on the 23rd of May. We are looking for exceptional founders who are tackling difficult problems and are going after big opportunities.

We are specifically looking for founders working on applications of AI/machine learning, blockchain, payments, cyber-security and big data. Our definition of fintech includes insurance-tech and regulatory-tech as well as “traditional” fintech. We welcome applications from founders across the world.

You can start your application now, and keep reading for more information about meeting us and hearing from alumni founders!

Meet the Team

We are holding office hours in London, New York, Toronto, Boston, Paris, Stockholm, Dublin, Lisbon, Zurich and remotely through Skype. If you’d like to meet with us, please check out the date and times below, and fill out this meeting request form.

Remote on Skype – September-October

London – September-October

New York City – Aug 30th and 31th

Boston – Sept 6th

Toronto – Sept 7th and 8th

Stockholm – Sept 13 & 14

Paris – Sept 18th

Zurich – Sept 19th

Dublin – Sept 20th and 21st

Lisbon – Sept 26th & 27th

We also recommend that you follow us on Twitter for specific updates, new event postings and live Q&A. Connect with us here: @chrisadelsbach and @madeleinegblyth.

Get to know Managing Director Chris Adelsbach and his thoughts about fintech in this recent interview The FinTech Times

Why Apply to the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars?

A good way to to find out about an accelerator program is to speak with those that have gone through it. Recently, Shieldpay CEO, Peter Janes, wrote about his experience. We’ve also included testimonials below. But in addition, here are some areas that are particularly helpful about the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars London program:

Reason #1: You get access to amazing mentors

Techstars accelerator programs are mentorship-driven, we find the people that have the skills to help you succeed. Our mentors are a diverse and amazing collection of financial services executives, successful entrepreneurs, city power-brokers, top angel investors and venture capitalists, as well as amazing mentors with backgrounds in product, engineering, legal, marketing and finance. You also get instant access and mentorship to senior Barclays team members who define success as you being successful. Most of our mentors have been with us for years and are trusted, connected and effective as evidenced by the qualitative and quantitative feedback we get back from our founders.

Reason #2: You really grow & accelerate your business

We help our companies make tangible progress and help grow and accelerate their business. At Demo Day, companies present their business to a curated group of investors and partners. As a result, 80% of the companies that joined were able to announce a proof-of-concept with Barclays on Demo Day and 100% announced partnerships with at least one large corporate that they met during the program. In addition, our last Investor Day had 600 people of which over half were VC’s or angels. Check out the video from it here! The companies announced various deals, partnerships and proof of concepts that were initiated and agreed during the program.

Reason #3: Successful fundraising

Having paying customers helps generate investor interest, and this interest has translated into very successful funding rounds. Companies such as Post Quantum, Aire, Ravelin, Do Pay, Cuvva, Cutover and Bokio are just a few examples. Globally, Techstars has the highest success rates for follow-on funding, with 119 successful portfolio company exits and $3.7 Billion of combined portfolio financing at a combined $10 Billion valuation.

Reason #4: You get a network for life

The Techstars worldwide network is one of the largest and fastest growing networks of entrepreneurs around the world. Once you are a part of Techstars, you are a part of Techstars for life, and you get to be part of the network that helps you go faster and accelerate your current and future businesses. For instance, Techstars has a team of five people in the Valley that run partnerships and M&A which companies tap into many months or years after they finish the program.

Reason #5: In London, you are at the centre of the global FinTech scene

London has become a great place to build a startup. You will be located within minutes of the world’s largest banks, asset management and wealth management businesses. What’s more, a supportive government, forward thinking regulator and Europe’s largest VC ecosystem are all nearby (not that you’ll need to visit them as many of them treat our accelerator as a hub and regularly meet startups here)!

What Founders say About Their Experience

Founders appreciate and value our work. Here is what some are saying about our program:

“The Techstars program 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 re-insurer, all in the space of 12 weeks!” Freddy Macnamara – CEO, Cuvva

“Being selected for the Barclays Techstars accelerator 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

“The Barclays Techstars 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

“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

“Courtsdesk went into the Techstars Barclays accelerator as an Irish startup with an MVP in testing, and came out 12 weeks later as a globally-networked, commercially-launched business, with an advisory board packed with C-suite executives from the most influential companies in our markets, and investors that we couldn’t have dreamed of beforehand.” Enda Leahy – CEO, Courtsdesk

“Atlas started with a big vision of banking the unbanked when we joined the program in 2015. 3 of the technical associates immediately gravitated towards Atlas and joined us in Senegal. Now, all 3 work for us full time and live with us in Ghana! Having access to this talent pool allowed us to initially test and grow our product as we had a small team with many holes to fill, but it more importantly, it resulted in us establishing a family culture early on that we are now adding to as we rapidly grow.” Mickey Costa – Co-MD, Atlas

“Being part of the Barclays London Techstars program has allowed us to accelerate beyond any normal ramping for an early stage startup. The program 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

“We entered the program as a company with 6 years of R&D behind it and a team comprised of founders at an older age than your average founder. Through the expert mentoring and privileged access offered, we were able to move quickly towards commercialisation.” Anderson Cheng – CEO, Post-Quantum

Ready to apply? Get started now. Applications close November 12th! If you have any questions, take 15 minutes to listen to my webinar about the program.








The Techstars Experience: ShieldPay

I have to admit, when I first heard of the accelerator created by Techstars and Barclays in October of 2016, I arrogantly felt that I didn’t need it as ShieldPay is my third startup. There is a huge misconception in the industry about what an accelerator is and who it is aimed at and, in all honesty, I was one of the people perpetuating misconceptions.

Having never been on a Techstars programme before, a number of questions ran through my head:

  1. Was I too old as a founder at 35 and won’t it just be loads of 20 year olds running around in hoodies?  
  2. Did I really need lessons on the basics, such as creating a business plan and a P&L report? and
  3. Why trade equity in my company to the accelerator when I can get it all this done by myself?

I was first introduced to the idea that ShieldPay should speak to the Techstars team after meeting with Sean Duffy, part of the innovation team at Barclays. Just for reference, ShieldPay is an instant digital escrow facility that enables anyone to safely buy or sell with someone they don’t know.  At this stage we were looking for a banking partner in the UK to provide us with a set of accounts necessary for our FCA regulatory license and Sean felt that the business might benefit from being involved in the accelerator.

Sean went ahead and made the introductions to the Techstars team on my behalf. This led to some hastily organised video calls with Madeleine Blyth and Chris Adelsbach from Techstars; neither of whom looked like they had slept in a week (because you tend to miss out on sleep when dealing with hundreds of admissions). In the first 10sec of the initial call with Madeleine my initial fears were realised when a guy walked past in the background; early 20s, carrying a table tennis bat and…..wearing a hoodie.

However, in saying this, the calls with Madeleine and Chris did put my mind at ease on a number of issues. Firstly, I was really impressed with their market knowledge and what was needed for a fintech company to succeed. They understood the problem that we were trying to solve and could see a real need for ShieldPay in the market. They also said that the average age of the founders at this accelerator was 38 and, due to the sheer number of applicants, Techstars was able to select companies that not only had a great concept but were also well on their way to getting market traction. In fact Chris highlighted the scale of Techstars, the global network and the success rate of companies coming out of the programmes.  

After jumping through a few more interview hoops and a final pitching day, Chris called a number of days later to say that, out of 800 applicants from over 70 countries, ShieldPay along with nine other companies had been accepted on the three-month programme to start in January 2017. Chris said that everyone loved the idea and in their eyes we had the team to pull it off!

Panic, apprehension and nerves very quickly replaced the initial feelings of excitement and pleasure that your company has been externally validated by a lot of people. You realise that you are about to sit in a room with nine other fintech companies, not knowing what stage they are at and if you are about to be humiliated by how little you actually have to show.

Now ShieldPay at this stage had very little indeed. For example our brand name at the time wasn’t even ShieldPay, we were called PayFlip (a terrible name, I know, but the URL was free) and the team consisted of me, half of a head of product Federico and half a CTO in Jerome. Although Jerome and Federico are the best in the business in their respective fields, they had inherited a prototype platform that in their words (accurately) was “an ugly, broken, piece of s**t.” We had a couple of patent applications but had nothing that truly matters, like product market fit or users who enjoy using the platform.

I had also gone through a whirlwind personally over the previous two years with my previous startup. To say it failed hard is a massive understatement. I made a huge number of mistakes and let a lot of people down. It sounds clichéd but at that stage ShieldPay was being run from the spare room in my parents’ house. Not in-line with the romantic Hollywood startup stories, but because of the huge errors in judgment left me with no other options.

In hindsight, failure has grounded me a lot and my experience was an MBA in how to f**k up as a founder and it has provided me with a set of skills that unless you have failed before, are very difficult to obtain. I’m not saying that failure is good in any way (it sucks) but it isn’t all negative either and everyday on this new journey it’s guiding me; my spidey senses kick in and I know when something doesn’t feel right because I’ve seen it first-hand before. Perhaps Chris and Madeleine could see that in me as well, who knows.

The weeks leading up to the accelerator were a mad scramble as I tried to piece together the team and any value that could be assigned to the company to make us look as viable as possible. Federico and Jerome both agreed to come on full time and on Christmas Eve the owner of the domain name shieldpay.com agreed in the Christmas spirit of things to sell the domain name to us. We could upgrade to a company name that actually meant something and a name we could build a great brand on.

We entered the accelerator still with a ton of work to do but with a good foundation to start building on. Within 30mins of being in the room with the other teams I knew I had made the right decision. Being a founder is an incredibly lonely experience and to have nine other founders around you all in the same place tackling similar issues as you is a huge benefit.

Chris, Madeleine and the Barclays team had done an incredible job bringing the brightest people from all over Europe to the same building to work together but also to push each other. Founders are inherently competitive and, although we were all working on tackling very different problems, the progress of other companies really drives everyone else. It’s something you never get when a startup works in an enclosed environment on their own. Success breeds success.

The first 4-6 weeks of the programme really are a blur for me. I went back through my calendar for January and February and found that, on average, I had seven meetings a day. That’s 35 meetings a week! For a startup founder to do this on your own is impossible and you wouldn’t even get a meeting with the calibre of some of these people let alone have them come to your office in a structured format. It was a dream. I learnt more and made more positive decisions about the company in those six weeks than I would have done in six months on our own.

We were introduced to experts and mentors in biz dev, legal, marketing, compliance, organisational strategy, fund raising, tax and a host of other fields. You left the accelerator everyday with your head in a spin with feedback, suggestions and new avenues to explore but it projected us forward in so many ways. The team could see first hand the validation from the mentors and experts in what we were building as well as tonnes of new business development angles we hadn’t even thought of. This really was the first time that ShieldPay had been described to the outside world and the response was hugely rewarding and acted as such a motivator to the team.

The second half of the programme was really about putting the pedal down. The first half is set out to challenge the teams and ensure you are pointing the ship in the right direction. The second half is all about progress; go to market strategies, developing key business partnerships and making the companies as attractive as possible for external fund raising.

Alongside building out the team with great hires in Tom Clementson (Head of Business Development) and Andy Derrick (Head of Technical Delivery) it became obvious that the talent pool of the Techstars associates put together by Techstars was exceptional. ShieldPay’s whole compliance and governance process was shaped by Geoff Dunnett and the restructuring of our P&L and new funding round was tackled eagerly by Tom Squire. I made the call early on that if we could hire Tom and Geoff at the end of the programme then we should try, and I made the approach to them about coming onboard, and with the blessing of Techstars they both agreed.

Towards the end of the accelerator, after getting to know a number of key mentors that we had been working alongside, I realised that ShieldPay would hugely benefit from having that calibre of person ‘within’ the company and not just as an advisor. We approached two hugely experienced individuals in Willem Wellinghoff (formerly of LendInvest) and John Stamler (formerly of Blackrock) who were in fact as enthusiastic about ShieldPay as we were about them. We acted quickly and they agreed to leave their much more secure jobs to join the ShieldPay adventure. The calibre of the team is now exceptionally high and, as with most things recently, we would never have probably met the two of them if we were not part of an accelerator that had the ability to call on people like them.

The culmination of the accelerator is Demo Day, or in our case Demo Days. The team had organised an initial internal ‘Barclays only’ Demo Day and a community day where the best Venture Capital firms in Europe were invited to hear the founders all 10 companies pitch their company. A fantastic two day event that for the founders such as myself really allowed us to shout for the first time about all the hard work that our teams had put in.  

Here is the ShieldPay pitch presented by yours truly:

So overall the three months with Techstars was one of the most exhausting, exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. We were able to do in three months what would take most startups 12. ShieldPay has grown from a team of three to a team of 14, hired two associates, hired two mentors, become FCA regulated, seed funded landed, built a world class international payments platform, secured a brand new office space (see below), became revenue generating, and began working with over strategic banking partners all over the world . Not bad for three months… ShieldPay was well and truly accelerated!

The accelerator has given us with the greatest possible chance of success and if I was asked to recommend the programme to anyone, I would do in a heartbeat. Safe to say it’s the best business decision I have ever made!

Massive thanks to Chris, Madeleine and everyone on the Techstars team for all that they did for us. Also many thanks to the Barclays team for their continued support in ShieldPay and helping bring the whole thing together.

Techstars for life!

Peter Janes

www.shieldpay.com

Follow us

www.linkedin.com/company/shieldpay

https://twitter.com/shield_pay








Demo Day: Techstars Barclays London (London)