Barclays Bank has launched a new venture unit to invest in and partner with tech companies in a drive to find new opportunities for growth and innovation.
The new unit, Barclays UK Ventures (BUKV), will be led by Ben Davey, formerly Barclays’ group head of strategy, who will also join the bank's UK executive committee.
Barclays has not disclosed details of the amount of capital earmarked for BUKV investments, but the bank will be looking to join top-ranking peers like Santander, Credit Suisse who were recently identified by CB Insights as the largest incumbent investors in third party fintech firms.
Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, says: “We are a growth business and Ben’s appointment will put real weight behind this new unit to provide new lines of revenue growth in addition to the organic growth of our core business.”
Davey says BUKV’s remit is to build a significant new revenue stream over the next five to seven years.
BUKV has been given free reign to capture new opportunities through a combination of organic build-out, commercial partnerships and venture investments. Operating independently of traditional business lines, the unit will adopt a rapid test-and-learn platform to ensure quick roll out of new 'disruptive' propositions to customers.
Says Davey: "we intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations. The way we will work as a team will look and feel very much like a start-up or scale-up operation, so that we can move at pace in order to realise and deliver long term value for Barclays customers and shareholders.”