By Roland Moore-Colyer
Accenture has opened up applications for its Fintech Innovation Lab in London to help early-stage startups working on financial technology to scale up.
Now in its fifth year, the Lab offers 20 successful applicants a place on a 12-week program to accelerate their product and business development through access to mentorship from experts and people with decision-making clout from top financial institutions.
For the first time, the Lab will take in entrepreneurs and startups from the 'insurtech' sector, a portmanteau of insurance and technology and a growth area in UK startups; Accenture's own data noted there has been a surge of investment in insurtech, rising to over $22 million as of 31 August.
Financial technology is a large contributor to the success of London's startup scene, so it comes as no surprise that Accenture's Lab has had 36 startups though its program since its launch in 2012, and the consultancy company boasts the program has led to its alumni raising more than $370 million in financing.
As such, the Lab and the fintech sector as a whole has attracted the attention of major banks, such as HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS and Santander, who will all participate in the program to support fledgling fintech companies. Given the addition of insurtech startups, Accenture said global insurance firms will also be participating in the Lab, but those companies will be revealed in January next year.
The strength of London's fintech sector has also caught the attention of the government, notably the HM Treasury's Special Envoy for FinTech, Eileen Burbidge.
"Fintech continues to be a highly attractive sector for investors," said Burbidge. "It's vital that the UK continues to grow the fintech economy by creating conditions where startups and financial services can work together in an ecosystem that boosts the global economy. This Lab and other industry initiatives show that the UK continues to be very open for business and home to innovation. The growing sector will undoubtedly unlock a wealth of opportunities for both financial institutions and entrepreneurs alike."
With fintech startups working on technologies that tap into disruptive tech areas such as big data; analytics, cognitive computing, and blockchain, it is no surprise the government is curious to how it will influence the one of the UK’s largest sectors. Also the government has expressed interest in exploring technology such as blockchain to track its own data and the distribution of public money.
Startups and entrepreneurs looking for a place in the Accenture's Lab will need to have their applications in by October 9.
The startup scene in the UK is a miasma of varied technology companies, so we have our Startup Showcase to highlight early-stage firms looking to make their mark in the technology industry.