Global Head of Programmes and Strategic Initiatives, Group Innovation Office, Barclays
Rise Digital Strategy Director, Barclays
Digital acceleration has skyrocketed as technology and innovation provided by fintech companies is helping shape new financial products for banking customers.
This digital financial advance is being driven by the creation of platforms that allow expertise to flourish and brings corporate innovation together with agile fintech companies.
Sonal Lakhani, Global Head of Programmes and Strategic Initiatives, Group Innovation Office, Barclays says: “We have evolved our corporate innovation model with a focus on creating more growth for the fintech ecosystem as a whole. We are supporting founders all the way from validating a business idea through to scaling their companies to Series A and beyond.”
We have evolved our corporate innovation model with a focus on creating more growth for the fintech ecosystem.Sonal Lakhani
Lakhani points to the development of the bank’s Rise Start-Up Academy digital skills building programme for early stage founders and the injection of USD 30 million into the Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis to invest solely in early-stage female founders building a fintech company.
On the Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis, Lakhani says: “By doubling down on investments and engagements with female founders, we want to contribute towards abolishing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and wealth while accelerating economic recovery.”
Creating growth for the ecosystem
Barclays’ teams are collocated with 100+ fintech companies at Rise offices in London and New York. More than 7,500 participants has engaged with Rise through mentoring, networking and accelerator programmes. From the 19 accelerator programmes Barclays has run at their Rise sites, four companies have gone on to gain unicorn status and the 190+ alumni portfolio are now at a market cap valuation of more than USD 7.8 billion.
Magdalena Krön, Rise Digital Strategy Director says: “We launched our virtual membership, Rise Connect, in February of this year to extend the reach and benefits to an audience beyond our physical locations.”
Rise Connect offers exclusive membership for fintech founders and their executive leadership teams. The membership offers opportunities for business development, investment and mentoring support. The power in the network is connecting with peers in the industry and accessing support from industry experts, clients and partners.
“Providing a space to exchange knowledge and expertise is bringing productivity to an industry that is relatively unconnected in terms of how you build innovation,” says Krön. “The power is in enabling fintech leaders to access a peer-to-peer network as they create and scale new products for financial services.”