10 fintech startups to take part in Barclays Tel Aviv accelerator program

The UK-based bank together with Techstars, a US firm, will work with entrepreneurs to help develop their financial technologies for the marketplace

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Participants in Barclays 2019 Tel Aviv Accelerator program, run jointly with Techstars (Courtesy)
Participants in Barclays 2019 Tel Aviv Accelerator program, run jointly with Techstars (Courtesy)

A payment system via the mobile apps of banks, a platform to help financing in the digital economy and a crowd-based system to alert financial traders about market-impacting events are among the startups to participate in the 2019 Tel Aviv Barclays Accelerator.

The intensive 13-week program for financial technology (fintech) startups aims to help businesses speed up the development of their technologies and bring them to market. Program participants visited London last week to meet with Barclays officials and relevant potential investors and strategic partners.

Chris Adelsbach, Managing Director, Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars in London, said by email that Israel is a source of fintech companies that are “deep tech” — meaning they are based on substantial scientific advances and high-tech engineering innovation — and cybersecurity-related, whereas in the UK, for example, the startups focus more on payments, insurance and regulation technologies.

Techstars tries to back teams that have at least one technical-minded co-founder, he said. “This never is an issue with Israeli teams, which is a testament to their upbringing and education.”

Participants in Barclays 2019 Tel Aviv Accelerator program, run jointly with Techstars, during their visit to London in May 2019 (Courtesy)

Participating startups will have the opportunity to collaborate with a team of Barclays executives, the Techstars worldwide network, and other industry leaders to refine and validate their business models. Among the startups participating in the current cohort are CrowdSense, which provides early automated detection of market-impacting events for traders; Gannuity, a platform that produces guaranteed retirement income; and Wenspire, a data protection platform to secure data under any scenario.

After three months of mentoring from industry professionals, the companies will highlight their progress and showcase their innovative propositions at a demo day in Tel Aviv at the culmination of the program.

The Barclays Accelerator has completed 14 accelerator programs in London, New York and Tel Aviv, fostering more than 140 companies currently valued at over $700 million, Barclays said in a statement.

In addition to making connections with and learning from startups that participate in the program, Barclays has benefited directly from their products and services and has also set up commercial agreements with several accelerator graduates including Sigma Ratings, Crowdz and Simudyne, helping transform the way Barclays does business, the statement said.

Participating companies will also be eligible to tap into recently launched fund Rise Growth Investments, which focuses on companies accepted into the Barclays Accelerator. The initiative allows Barclays to invest up to £10 million ($12.7 million) per accelerator class.

Hilla Ovil-Brenner in charge of the Barclays, Techstars accelerator program in Tel Aviv (Courtesy)

There were hundreds of applications for this year’s Tel Aviv program — the fourth class in Israel since its launch in 2014 — and the 2019 Tel Aviv class is one of the most diverse classes to date, consisting of businesses that address challenges covering data protection, mobile payments, tax reporting and others, Barclays said in the statement.

The Tel Aviv accelerator programs have “been extremely successful,” said Mariquit Corcoran, managing director, Group Innovation at Barclays, “resulting in several partnerships between Barclays and the portfolio companies. We look forward to delivering another exceptional program in ‘start-up nation,’ while helping the ten companies take their businesses to the next level.”

The 10 startups selected from various fields are “all coming together to create and provide forward-thinking solutions in the areas of blockchain, cyber, open banking, risk management, payments and other exciting verticals of finance-related-technologies,” said Hilla Ovil-Brenner, managing director of teh Tel Aviv accelerator. In recent years Tel Aviv has become the “center stage and a major hub for all things fintech,” she added.

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