Nearly 200 fintech investors and financial advisers gathered on the top floor of The Gherkin last night for the culmination of the Octopus Labs accelerator programme.
Launched last year, the twelve-week accelerator programme has seen Octopus support five start-ups, each developing fintech products for financial advisers and their clients:
• Advicefront - the online support platform for Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs), which is re-inventing the way they plan for their clients' future and deliver compliant financial advice
• CityFALCON - the personalised financial news feed for non-institutional traders and investors, powered by machine learning & crowd-curation
• Freetrade - the mobile app bringing disruption to the stock market by making investing commission free and mobile-first
• Moola - the easy, low cost and high quality investing platform that allows anyone to save simply and invest wisely
• Squirrel - the UK's simplest way to create and stick to a budget - a financial well-being company that empowers people to regain control of their financial lives
Providing a rare opportunity to pitch directly to a high-profile audience of potential investors, distributors, customers and influencers, last night’s event celebrated the conclusion of an eventful three months for the accelerator companies.
From their temporary workspace in Octopus’s central London headquarters, they have been supported with top level mentoring from financial industry experts and successful entrepreneurs such as Nicole Anderson, CEO at FinTech Circle Innovate, Alan Chang, Head of Operations at Revolut and Adam Price, Founder of VouchedFor - and provided privileged access to the company’s network of over 3,500 financial advisers. Over the course of their time at Octopus:
• Advicefront has taken on board its first client and completed an integration with the industry’s leading wrap platform, Transact
• CityFALCON has closed a successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs and sign up BNP Paribas
• Freetrade has obtained FCA permission to be an online broker and won the Innovation in Apps award at Apps World London
• Moola has achieved its full authorisation by the FCA - and its CEO, Gemma Godfrey, has been hired by Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of his advisers on The Celebrity Apprentice
• Squirrel has launched its own crowdfunding campaign on Syndicate Room
Over 80 applications were received to join the accelerator programme. The final five were chosen after pitching to a panel of high-profile judges - which included ex-head of Google UK Dan Cobley, CEO of Dunelm John Browett and joint COO of St James’s Place Iain Rob Rayner.
Richard Wazacz, Head of Octopus Labs, said: “Our inaugural accelerator programme has been a huge success. We’re delighted to have been able to support five such inspirational companies, all of whom are developing products that have the potential to scale quickly and change the way financial advisers and their clients make the most of their money.
“But it’s been a two-way exercise. We’ve learned a huge amount from having the companies with us over the last few months, and have been bowled over by the entrepreneurial passion and commitment that the teams have shown. We’re sure they’re headed for success.”
Part of the Octopus group, Octopus Labs is designed to create tech-enabled financial solutions for the mainstream market. Following last year’s successful launch of its peer-to-peer lending product Octopus Choice, the team last week launched a new savings product, Octopus Cash, designed to give clients of financial advisers a hassle free way to get a better rate on their savings.