About the Accelerator

I’m interested in applying to the program! What do I do next?

Woohoo! Next, you need to submit your application for the program by Sunday, May 10th at 11:59pm PST. The earlier you submit the better, so that we can take our time getting to know you. 

In addition to applying, you can also learn more about the program in two ways:

  1. Come meet us! You can request office hours with us here. The Accelerator Team will be traveling all over the world from February to May to meet with prospective startups for the program, and we’ll likely be coming to a city near you. If not, we do virtual office hours too.
  2. Join one of our AMAs (links to come). Especially if you’re not able to meet us in person, this is a great chance to hear more in-depth about the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars. We spend the majority of the time answering questions, and often have alumni founders and the Barclays team join too.

What is the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in New York?

The Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in New York is a 3-month mentorship-driven accelerator program for startups. Each of the 10 companies invited to participate in the program will receive up to $120,000 in seed funding. During the program, startup founders will receive mentorship from and access to a network of FinTech experts, serial entrepreneurs, early-stage investors, and corporate partners to help refine and grow their business.

We’re excited about everything FinTech and solutions that help large enterprises scale. Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud management, relationship management optimization, and data automation represent unique opportunities for disruption.

What is the difference between the Barclays Accelerator programs in New York and London?

Location! New York is one of the premier FinTech capitals of the world, with top VCs, industry experts, and potential customers all just a few blocks away from the accelerator office. While the mentors involved with the programs may be different, each one offers world-class resources and access to both the Techstars and Barclays networks. 

Our recommendation is to pick the network that is most essential to the next phase of your business. If you’re looking to launch or expand in the US market, then the New York program would be the right choice.

Do I have to relocate to New York?

Yes, it is an in-residence program and all founders will need to come to New York to participate in the 3-months of program. It is up to you if non-founding employees participate and relocate for the accelerator program as well. We’ve had entire teams relocate to New York, and we’ve had an employee or two who joins the founders in New York only for only specific, relevant aspects of the program. Once you’re accepted into the accelerator, we’ll figure out the best plan for your team.

We encourage you to stay after too and make NYC one of your company’s main locations. But some companies choose to go back home after program too. You also have the opportunity to work out of any of Barclays’ Rise co-working locations around the world, even after the accelerator.

What are some success stories or notable companies to come out of the program?

Specifically from the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, we are proud to have companies like Chainalysis, Remesh, Everledger, Simudyne, Novo, Nimbla, Sigma Ratings, Harvest, Applica.ai, and Lance as portfolio companies.

Other great examples across the Techstars portfolio include: SendGrid, DigitalOcean, ClassPass, Remitly, Realty Mogul, PillPack, Sphero, and hundreds of others. Over 85% of Techstars companies are either active or have been acquired.

Barclays

How is Barclays involved with the program?

Barclays sits in the accelerator every day and is actively involved with the program. The Barclays Group Innovation Office was designed to connect our start-ups with the business heads who can turn words into actions and help drive your business forward.  Every day you will interact with Accelerator Leads from Barclays. Their focus is to quickly identify the best possible entry points into the bank for your start-up and to plug you into those senior-level leaders. 

Will I do a deal or partnership with Barclays as part of the accelerator program?

No, a commercial partnership, POC, or deal with Barclays is not the goal of this accelerator program. Companies joining the accelerator should be interested in building a long-term relationship with Barclays. This is an opportunity to get feedback on your product and market from a large, global bank. There are many better ways that Barclays can help an early-stage business, such as subject-matter expertise, product feedback, access to their corporate and retail customer base, technological knowledge, etc. A deal with Barclays is definitely not guaranteed or likely during the course of the 3-month accelerator program.

The Deal

How much funding do the Barclays Accelerator startups receive?

All Techstars companies receive the same deal, no matter which accelerator program you join. Techstars contributes $20,000 USD and in return receives 6% common stock. The $20,000 is often used by founders as a stipend for relocation and living expenses during the accelerator program. An additional $100,000 USD convertible note is also offered to help extend startups’ runway, and it is at the founder’s decision to take that convertible note. Of the 6% common stock, Barclays will be on the cap table for 3% and Techstars will be on the cap table for the other 3%.

Besides the economic deal, you will also receive:

  • Access to Techstars and Barclays resources for life
  • Acceleration in the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars New York program with intense, hands-on mentorship from FinTech entrepreneurs, tech executives and investors
  • Connections to the Techstars Network of over 10,000 mentors, 11,000 investors, 1900+ portfolio companies, and over 250 Techstars staff globally
  • Access to over $400k of cash equivalent hosting, accounting, and legal support—plus other credits and perks worth more than $1M
  • Free office space in New York at Barclays’ Rise New York coworking space for the duration of the program. Rise New York is the hub for FinTech startup activity in the city – all engaging together under one roof

Historically, Techstars companies go on to average more than $3M raised in outside capital after the program. We believe our stats speak for themselves.

Why 6%? That seems expensive.

This is not a valuation event, and you should not think of it as such. No investor that you meet will think of this as a valuation event either. Once you join the accelerator, we think of ourselves as an extension of your team focused on growing the business, and we want to make sure we’re fully aligned and have skin in the game. The 6% is common stock on a fully diluted basis, so Techstars’ and Barclays’ equity will be diluted once the company raises a priced equity financing of US $250,000 or more. 

We have no control rights or board seats. You will run the show, and we will serve in a mentorship role with your company.

Is the deal negotiable?

No. Techstars invests $20,000 USD for 6% common stock in all companies across all of its accelerator programs. This is not negotiable.

The only aspect that is optional is the $100,000 USD convertible note, which the founders decide whether or not to take. The note has a cap of $3 – 5M, based only on the startups’ previous institutional fundraising.

What is the equity back guarantee?

In the unlikely event that a participating company is dissatisfied with their experience in the Techstars program, Techstars offers an Equity Back Guarantee, the only one of its kind in the industry. The Equity Back Guarantee permits participating companies to repurchase some or all of the equity, if they are not fully satisfied with the experience they got out of the program. We ask for feedback throughout the program and have a culture of openness and transparency, including discussing how we can improve the program to best meet your needs.

We believe that you’ll receive far more than 6% of value out of the accelerator program.

What to Expect in Program

What is the program like? What can I expect during the three months?

The accelerator program is broken down into three phases:

  • Month 1 – Mentorship. We surround you with 150 FinTech entrepreneurs, senior executives from financial services, and technical experts to give feedback on your business.
  • Month 2 – Traction. You will refine your go-to-market strategy and meet with relevant corporate partners about potential pilots and engagements, as well as spend time heads down building new features of your product.
  • Month 3 – Story. We will spend several weeks crafting your pitch and answering common objections about your business, so that you can tell a cohesive, backable story for investors.

In a given week in the accelerator, you and your team will meet 1:1 with mentors for office hours to get advice, attend weekly workshops on key topics to help your company scale, and work with the Accelerator Team on your business roadmap and metric-driven goals.

Between running your company + participating all of the accelerator programming, it makes for very busy days. There is programming and content for the accelerator every day.

Who are the mentors?

We have an incredible community of over 150 mentors who are actively involved with the accelerator program. They are FinTech serial entrepreneurs, financial services executives, partners at VC funds, and functional experts. Our mentors exemplify the Techstars value of #givefirst and are there simply to help founders build successful businesses. Check out a list of some of our incredible mentors.

I would need to relocate from another city. How do I handle relocation and find housing for the program?

You do have to be legally in the U.S. during the program, of course. Once accepted into the program, we can help with legal/immigration issues by leveraging our contacts to help and offering support documents to assist in your visa process. However, we cannot help with this in advance of acceptance to the program.

In terms of where you live during program, that’s up to you – we don’t provide housing. If you’re accepted into program, we’ll help with a list of recommended locations in the city and can even send one of our helpful Associates to check out a residence in-person for you. But you will need to make your own living arrangements. Many founders use the $20,000 from Techstars to assist with housing and relocation.

What We Look For

What kind of companies do you fund? What areas of FinTech are you interested in?

We fund technology oriented companies – typically web-based or other software companies – but we’ve funded companies that don’t quite fit that mold as well. We’re also looking for companies that can have national or worldwide reach. If you are a start-up with a vision that raises eyebrows, a market that can be disrupted, and deep domain expertise, we encourage you to apply!

We’re excited about everything FinTech and have a very broad definition. If you look at our portfolio, our companies focused on everything from capital markets to compliance to real estate to consumer savings – even unique enterprise technologies tailored to financial services users, like data analytics. More specifically, we see tremendous opportunity in the following areas:

  • AI and Machine learning, especially in trading, analytics, sales, and research
  • Trading and Sales desktop and visualizations
  • Unstructured data and data science
  • Cloud management and security
  • Container technology
  • Client/user enhancement and digitization
  • Predictive insights and decision making
  • FX/Multicurrency products
  • Payment processing
  • Alternative data for KYC, AML, and fraud
  • Credit decisions
  • Fraud and compliance tools
  • Email automation
  • Operations optimization
  • SME services and banking
  • Wealth management
  • New investment products and vehicles

Do you consider crypto companies too?

Due to the unclear and changing regulatory environmentfor cryptocurrency, we typically are not able to consider these types of companies or companies that have done an ICO. We are though very excited about other applications of blockchain, smart contracts, and digital assets solutions being applied in interesting ways.

How far along do you expect companies to be?

We’re stage agnostic. We see a spectrum from pre-product, pre-revenue to companies that already have significant revenue or have raised a funding round. Ideally, your company should already have an MVP, even if you haven’t launched yet, to help you to get the most out of the accelerator program.

I have a more mature company. Am I too far along to consider this accelerator program?

Probably not. We’ve had companies with fully developed products and over $1M in fundraising (read about one). They still saw significant value in participating in a Techstars accelerator, and we were able to help them with their business model, introductions, financing, and more. We take a portfolio approach in our investments, and the 10 companies in each accelerator class are often across a spectrum of maturity.

Likewise, nothing is too early. We’ll accept companies with little more than an idea, a dream, and maybe a dog.

Do I have to work full-time on my business?

We understand that going full-time on your startup is a unique and personal choice for every founder. While you do not currently have to be full-time, we do expect you to be full-time once accepted into the accelerator program. Many investors, including Techstars, struggle to invest in companies when the founders are not all-in themselves. If you’re not yet full-time, throughout the interview process, we will likely ask about your timeline or decision threshold for becoming full-time so that we have a clear picture of your intentions.

I’m a single founder. Can I still get into the program?

While we don’t screen applications just because they have a single founder, it does make it more difficult. We look for a diverse, well-balanced team. We recommend having at least one co-founder, with one of you being technical. As you’re going through the accelerator program while simultaneously running your company, it is extremely valuable to have a co-founder to bounce ideas off of and share the workload. Typically, teams are between 1 – 4 founders.

I’m interested in the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars and another Techstars program, which one should I apply to?

You can apply to both! But make sure to do your homework on each program and ask lots of questions. Our goal is to help founders make the best decision for themselves and for their startup.

Our recommendation is to pick the network that is most essential to the next phase of your business. If you’re building a FinTech startup for the US-market, then the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in New York is likely the best option for you. Especially for B2B FinTechs, all of the VCs, potential customers, and industry experts are within blocks of our accelerator program.

I’m not based in New York City or the United States. Is that a problem?

Absolutely not! You do not have to be based in New York City or even the United States to be considered for the program. We’re a global program and welcome companies from all over the world. 

Your founding team just has to be able to relocate to New York for the 3-months of program. In order to attract more US venture dollars, we may need to change where your company is incorporated, but no need to worry about that at this point.

Application Process

I’m definitely interested in the program! What do I do from here?

Woohoo! Next, you need to submit your application for the program by Sunday, May 10th at 11:59pm PST. The earlier you submit the better, so that we can take our time getting to know you. 

In addition to this you can also learn more about the program in two ways:

  1. Come meet us! You can request office hours with us here. The Accelerator Team will be traveling all over the world from February to May to meet with prospective startups for the program, and we’ll likely be coming to a city near you. If not, we do virtual office hours too.
  2. Join one of our AMAs (links to come). Especially if you’re not able to meet us in person, this is a great chance to hear more in-depth about the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars. We spend the majority of the time answering questions, and often have alumni founders and the Barclays team join too.

How can I stand out in the application process?

Apply early so that we can take our time getting to know your team and your business. The majority of our applications are submitted in the final week, so we’re more rushed to get to know those companies. Other suggestions:

  • Be very authentic and passionate about the problem you’re trying to solve and the solution you’re developing. We want to get to know the real you and why you’re so excited about what you’re building.
  • In the application, we ask for 2 videos – a product video and a team video. Only 1 minute for each. Longer does not equal better in this case. There are no bonus points for production quality, so keep it simple. 
  • For the team video, focus on showing the credibility and conviction of your team. We want to get to know you & your cofounders.
  • For your product video, clearly explain your product and how it adds value to the market. What differentiates it from the other solutions out there.

 

What is the interview process like? When will I find out whether or not I’m accepted into the program?

We want to get to know you! As early and as often as possible. So we encourage you to request office hours with the Accelerator Team (either in-person or virtually), meet us at a conference or event in your city, and submit your application.

Once applications close, you will have a series of conversations with the Accelerator Team, Techstars MDs, and Barclays leaders to better get to know your team and your product. These conversations will take place over the course of February to June, and will especially pick up after applications close on May 10th.

We will notify all applicants by early July, if not sooner, with decisions.

What do you evaluate or look for in companies?

We will choose great founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team. Because of this reason, we’re less likely to accept single founder companies. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are:

  • Round out your team with business, technical, and other necessary skills. A diverse team is paramount.
  • Make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application.
  • Show us you’ve really thought about your business and have gotten off your butt to do something about it.
  • Demonstrate that you are coachable and can take in all of the feedback that you’ll get in program. We like founders who are authentic and open.

Then, we consider the size of the opportunity and market, your traction to date, and of course your product. 

After I apply, I’m thinking of emailing mentors to get them interested in what I’m doing. Good idea?

No. Emailing our mentors or reaching out to them on LinkedIn before being accepted into the program will hurt you more than it will help you. We receive thousands of applications per year, which is why we have an application process, and we do not want our mentors inundated with messages. A good way to learn more about the program is to reach out to those who have been through it before – our portfolio companies – who can tell you more about their experience.

If you already are close to one of our mentors or portfolio companies, have them referred you to the program or note it in your application.

How much can I really share with Techstars and Barclays during the interview and application process? What if you steal our IP? Will you sign an NDA?

We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, and we treat application data as confidential information. We talk to hundreds of companies every year, and it comes down to execution – not IP. We ask questions about your idea and technology to better understand what you’re building and what is defensible about your business, not to steal anything proprietary. That being said, we only want you to share as much as you’re comfortable with during the selection process.

If you feel that we need to sign an NDA to talk about your business, then this is probably not the program for you. Mentors and investors that we bring into program will be asking many of the same questions that we ask in the selection process, and we want you to feel comfortable being open and vulnerable with who you meet during the program.

My product isn’t in market yet, but the application asks about traction and for a product video. What should I put?

Not a problem! Instead of actual customers or traction, talk about proxies for product demand:

  • Number of customer interviews you’ve conducted
  • Letters of intent from prospective B2B clients
  • Waitlist sign ups
  • Customer surveys or focus groups

When we say “traction”, we want to get a sense that you’ve really spent time getting to know your target market, you understand what they value from your product, and there is demonstrated/quantifiable interest.

For the product video, if you’re not able to do a demo, then talk us through what you’re building, why the market needs it, and what’s unique about your execution strategy.