In its eighth year, Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab London welcomes a cohort of 20 fintechs, with a 50% increase in the number of female founders from the previous year.
In addition to the Lab’s overall goal of helping fintechs from all backgrounds excel, this year Accenture aimed to improve the number of female founders taking part in an effort to narrow the gender gap in fintech.
During the three-month accelerator programme which runs 6th January to 27th March, fintechs will be partnered with senior executives from over 40 of the top financial institutions to fine-tune and develop their technologies and business models. This year, the Lab worked with fintech platform F6S to proactively scout female-led companies to apply. Additionally, Accenture leveraged its network of FinTech Innovation Lab alumni, as well as female business mentors to bring women closer to the VC community. The 2020 programme will also see the introduction of female CEO-led masterclass sessions, and female founder focused events, specifically tailored to women in financial technology.
Despite global investment in fintech dropping in 2019, investment in the UK nearly doubled to approximately £1.9 billion, showing a clear appetite in the UK fintech landscape. Additionally, the number of deals jumped 25% to 263 as challenger banks and payments companies continue to draw investors’ interest.
“We’re very excited to welcome 20 new fintechs to the programme this year,” said Tom Graham, managing director and executive sponsor for Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab London. “It’s encouraging to see the UK fintech landscape continuing to thrive, and particularly good to this year see an increase in female-led companies participating in Accenture’s lab. Its integral we all work to create an equal playing field in a highly competitive space.”
The 20 fintechs in the programme will be split across five streams: Capital Markets, Enterprise Tech, Insurtech, Open Data and RegTech, and will be mentored by over 45 of Accenture’s financial services clients. Companies on this year’s list of innovative start-ups span security, wealth-management platforms, synthetic data, uses of AI, deep learning and more, working to solve a myriad of business and societal problems. The fintechs selected to participate in the 2020 lab are:
Caroline Hughes, co-founder and CEO of Lifetise, a participant in last year’s Lab, said: “As a participant in the programme in 2019, I have first-hand experience of how valuable these accelerator programmes can be for new businesses. I think it’s extremely important that female founders, of fintechs in particular, are encouraged to take part in these programmes as there is still plenty to be done to narrow the gender gap in the industry.”
A subset of the fintechs selected for the Lab will present to venture capitalists and financial-industry executives at the programme’s Graduation Day in March 2020. Accenture and a dozen major banks launched the FinTech Innovation Lab London in 2012, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. Since its launch, 94 start-ups have participated in the London Lab, securing c$500m of funding.
“Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab supports both the fintechs in the programme and the partnering institutions by exploring commercial applications and new innovation outcomes at pace” said Sam Riordan, Director of Partnerships & Innovation for Lloyd’s Banking Group. “The value the programme provides is evidenced by Lloyd’s Banking Group’s ongoing collaboration with Xelix, a fintech from the 2019 Accenture Innovation Lab cohort, as well as the companies themselves continuing to learn and develop upon graduating from the programme.”
The London Lab is modelled on a similar programme that Accenture co-founded in 2010 with the Partnership Fund for New York City, the US$160 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City. In 2014, Accenture then launched the Asia-Pacific FinTech Innovation Lab. Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised over US$2.0 billion in venture capital financing after participating in the programme.