Techstars and Barclays are wrapping up registration for startups looking to enter their joint fintech accelerator program which will take place in New York. The program is the third class of the accelerator with one having taken place in New York, and an ongoing program in London.
One of the biggest names in hosting accelerator programs, TechStars contrasts to many of their other larger size competitors such as Y Combinator and 500 Startups. Rather than opening up classes to a diverse groups of startups, TechStars partners with major corporations to host industry specific programs. Previous examples were a wearable and fitness focused accelerator program that was run in conjunction with Nike in Portland, as well as other cloud and enterprise programs that included participation with Microsoft and Rackspace.
In the financial space, TechStars has partnered with Barclays to host a fintech themed program. For startups, the goal of the program is to provide them with mentorship in producing their product, IT assistance, connections to Barclays executives to analyze potential partnerships, and advice on how ‘bankable’ their product is to outside world in terms of gaining additional funding or getting bought out.
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For Barclays, like other banks sponsoring fintech programs, the accelerator provides them with an inside look of financial innovation taking place which can be the source of potential ideas for their internal technology teams, as well as offer potential partnership opportunities. Speaking with members of Barclays, they also confirmed that there is an altruistic benefit to assisting the fintech community grow. Therefore, even were Barclays or other banks hosting accelerators not to realize immediate benefits, they gain over the long-term as startups may eventually become clients or partners of the bank as well as create more efficiency in the financial industry.
Speaking about the current program, TechStars Managing Director Greg Rogers stated in a recent trip recruiting trip that in addition to hosting ten startups in New York, they will also be flying them out for a two-week stay in London to introduce them to Barclays staff in that location. Rogers explained that this trip would help ensure that participating startups gain the added advantage of gaining connections and advice from a wider collection of Barclays decision makers and key executives.
In relation to working with the bank, Rogers stated that in their first class, 50% of firms had created some sort of partnership with Barclays. The number is expected to rise to 70-80% for the current London class, with leaders of the program from both TechStars and Barclays putting a greater focus on methods to connect startups with the bank.