AMA: Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in New York

Join us onMonday May 7 at 10am EST to learn more about the accelerator program and get your questions answered!

AMA: Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in New York

Join us on Monday April 23 at 10am EST to learn more about the accelerator program and get your questions answered!

AMA: Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in New York

Join us on Monday April 9 – 10am EST to learn more about the accelerator program and get your questions answered!

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 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.


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


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


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


Meet the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in NYC

Calling all FinTech founders!!

We’ve opened applications for our 2018 FinTech program, the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in New York. The application deadline is May 13th. Apply now!

After investing in over a hundred amazing FinTech companies, the Barclays Accelerator has never been stronger. Every entrepreneur learns that if you build it they won’t come. However, when leveraging the support of the global Techstars network and the deep expertise and distribution channels of Barclays, chances for success can skyrocket.

Our most recent class was the most diverse group of founders we’ve ever had and so it comes as no surprise that they were one of the strongest we’ve ever had. This year, we’re once again taking a wide view of FinTech to include enterprise technologies that help scale and reduce risk. We’re excited about nascent technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and blockchain that continue to represent tremendous opportunities for innovation.

Starting in March, we’ll be hosting a series of webinars, office hours, and AMA sessions to get to know the community and provide information on Techstars’ approach to entrepreneurship.

Do you have questions about the program and what we look for?

Register here for an upcoming interactive webinar & AMA session to learn more:

Request Office Hours if you want to meet us one on one, receive mentoring and advice on your startup, business model and product.  If we’re not coming to a city near you you can always select a virtual meeting when applying.

Office Hours

  • Boston, USA | March 10
  • San Francisco, USA | March 14
  • District of Columbia | March 23
  • Toronto, Canada | March 26
  • Vancouver, Canada | April 3-5
  • Chicago, USA | April 4
  • Indianapolis, USA | April 7
  • San Francisco, USA | April 9-11
  • Boston, USA | April 12
  • New York, USA | April 16
  • Charlotte, USA | April 20
  • Los Angeles | April 24
  • New York, USA | May 1
  • Dublin, Ireland | May 3
  • Atlanta, USA | May 8-9
  • Virtual Meetings | Anytime!

Five Global Techstars Programs Open Applications

Now Accepting Applications to Five Techstars Accelerator Programs Around the World

Techstars has opened applications for five more mentorship-driven accelerator programs in Berlin, New York City, Oslo, Paris and Toronto. Don’t miss your opportunity to grow your business– join the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders. Take the next step and apply now.

The following programs are now accepting applications:  

Three Months, 1,500+ Mentors and a Network That Lasts a Lifetime

The Schedule:

  • Applications Open: February 19, 2018
  • Application Deadline: May 13, 2018
  • Programs Start: September 10, 2018
  • Demo Days: December 5, 2018

Applications are still open for 17 other Techstars global accelerator programs. See the full list here.

Have More Questions? Meet the People who Make it Happen.

Techstars managing directors want to meet you. They’re on the road hosting information sessions and office hours. Here’s a list of all the stops on the Techstars Roadshow where you can sign up for in-person meetings and interactive, online Q&A programming to learn more about specific programs.

Hilla Ovil Brenner Joins Barclays Accelerator in Tel Aviv

As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve taken many remarkable paths in my life – but I’m about to start my most exciting venture yet.

I am pleased to announce that I am taking over the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in Tel Aviv as managing director. Working alongside Program Manager Yasmin Nachum, we are going to support our class of exceptional founders to help them accelerate their companies, tap into the industry and receive mentorship and insight from Barclays.

Before I found my passion in entrepreneurship, I completed two law degrees and practiced law in Israel and NYC. More recently, I was the CEO and co-founder of the publicly traded company White Smoke, Inc. While at White Smoke, we invented a sophisticated grammar engine that was adopted by over 50 million users around the world.

But my entrepreneurial experience doesn’t end there. During my life, I have raised over $40 million, built teams from the ground up, learned the ins and outs of business models, management, and the best part – making dreams become reality.

I sit on several tech advisory boards, I’m an investor, a mentor to multiple accelerators, and am continuing to become deeply embedded in the startup arena. Last year, I had the honor of being nominated one of the most influential people in tech by GeekTime, a leading Israeli website.

Another passion of mine is supporting women entrepreneurs. I am the founder of Yazamiyot, Israel’s largest community for women entrepreneurs, as well as Campus for Moms in Collaboration with Google, an international innovation program for moms on maternity leave.

What I’m Looking Forward to the Most

Discovering the Big Idea – The word innovation gets thrown around in the startup world, but I truly can’t get enough of it. I’m excited to discover great ideas that are in Israel and beyond. Two world changing ideas stemmed from Israel, Waze and Gett. How did we ever get anywhere before Waze? How did we think of ordering a taxi before Gett? I’m thrilled to work with Techstars to turn ideas into successful companies.

Building Great Teams – Techstars says that they look for five things when selecting companies to join their programs: team, team, team, market, and idea. In that order. I’m a great believer in people, and am looking forward to working with founders, partners and investors to form strong companies and even stronger teams.

Helping Entrepreneurs – As I mentioned before, I love being an entrepreneur, but I love coaching others. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing founders say they were influenced by my advice. I can’t wait to work with all of our companies in the program, and use my experience to help them grow.

So let’s do this. Let’s draw in the best companies and mentors from all over the world to create a pool of successful fintech entrepreneurs. Let’s work with amazing partners like Barclays and grow the Techstars worldwide network.

Are you ready to take that step? Applications for the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in Tel Aviv are open now and close February 25th, 2018. Apply today!


Announcing the 2017 Class of the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in NYC!

We are thrilled to unveil the nine companies that will be joining the 2017 Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in NYC. Over the next three months the companies will continue their ascent, redefining financial services as we know it. The class will forge new trails in FinTech by working closely with our partner, Barclays along with numerous other industry leaders.

Companies will refine and test their business models while leveraging a hand-selected group of over 150 FinTech mentors. As the third program in New York, we’re fortunate to have many of our 2015 and 2016 alumni on the ground as well. We’re grateful for the support from our mentors and alumni over the last couple of years and your continued time and guidance. We couldn’t do it without you.

This year’s class continues to affirm New York City as the undisputed FinTech capital of the world. Without further ado, here are the companies of the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in NYC:

7 Chord: Machine Learning for credit trading.

Bank Novo: Simple Bank + AI for SMBs.

Cogni: Banking services for the shared and freelancer economy.

Dwell City: Invest in the best real estate, and receive guaranteed returns.

Pathspark: The future of work is bright. Let us make it work for you.

Qanta: AI-driven agent that automates significant parts of the mortgage taking process.

Sigma Ratings: World’s first non-credit rating agency.

Sprout Wisely: AI-enabled investing marketplace for infrastructure assets that matter.

SynSwap: The future of OTC derivatives processing.


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 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

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