Rise around the world: a global pipeline
JS: The reality is that good ideas for the future of finance can come from anywhere. There’s no geographical boundary. Being able to run this programme globally helps diversify the thought process and allows us to see the best of the best around the world.
LM: The location is not necessarily the be-all and end-all. However, I think what we get out of having a global set of Accelerators is that companies in the local areas often see us as a really good inroad into New York or London, where they’re typically looking to expand.
SD: In addition, the training they get – the mini MBA – has prepped them to go out in the world and raise finance, increase their customer pipeline and sales volume, leading to a more successful company down the line. Investors recognise the value of a Barclays partnership and it shows through in the continued investment that comes to almost all the companies in our portfolio.
Looking forward: extending the programme’s reach
JS: For 2018, we’re going to keep concentrating on our main hubs but extend the global footprint of the companies we source. With help from Techstars, we’ll be pounding the pavement to drum up companies from more cities so we have a broader set of ideas. Also, if we want this to continue to be successful and keep growing, we want to exploit different ways to run virtual Accelerators in other cities globally – but it’s a case of walk, not run.
I think the growth of the programme has been exceptional, and the difference made to the companies involved and the wider fintech community has been outstanding.
LM: With a few companies per cohort, it’s blindingly obvious that they’re going to do well. We’re always looking for them, and making sure we commit and nurture them in the long term.
JS: The future has a lot of bright spots as we look forward to seeing these companies grow and a return on all the emotional, intellectual and capital investment we’ve put into them. The ability for Barclays to reap some of the rewards from taking these companies along – be it in contracts, idea sharing or investment returns is something that will come into sharp focus.
Amazing work has been done. It’s been a great road to get here, and the road stretches out to a place where there are a lot of things that will positively impact the bank.