Accenture’s London fintech incubator reaches record levels

16 Jan 2017

London financial district. Image: IR Stone/Shutterstock

A record 300 entrepreneurs applied and a record 20 start-ups have been selected for Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab in London.

With insurtech a newly prioritised strand, Accenture’s London-based fintech incubator is shifting its focus as numbers surge.

The 12-week programme’s latest 20 members cover AI, blockchain and gamification, with financial literacy, rental price management and the cost of insurance the focus of some of the cohort.

Calling the industry’s current path into modernity “arguably” a bigger challenge than the Brexit vote, or Donald Trump’s US presidential win, the organisers are certainly emphasising the significance of fintech in today’s world.

“The transformation requirements that the financial services industry must undertake to remain relevant arguably pose a bigger challenge than the immediate geopolitical uncertainty casting a shadow over the industry,” said Tom Graham, programme director at Accenture.

“Innovation must continue,” he said. “The [programme] is helping start-ups forge ties to thrive at home and abroad. This opportunity offers light-bulb moments to banks and insurers with exciting innovations that can help make financial services work better for consumers and the broader economy.”

As part of the programme, the start-ups are partnered with senior bank and insurance executives to help them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business models.

Mentors come from 28 financial institutions, including Santander, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, RBS and Rabobank.

Eight of the 20 start-ups will be selected to present at the programme’s 30 March graduation day, with VCs and financial industry executives in attendance.

Sigga Sigurdardottir, head of customer and innovation at Santander, spoke of the company’s excitement at being involved, highlighting London as an ideal place to define “the global fintech innovation agenda”.

“Being an active member of an ecosystem that is designing the future of banking is one way we will make good on our goal to help people and business prosper.”

The London programme is one of four around the world, with New York, Dublin and Hong Kong playing host to the others.

The current cohort:

London financial district. Image: IR Stone/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic