London: Seven financial technology entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in the inaugural FinTech Innovation Lab London launched by Accenture, leading banks and venture capital companies last year.
The Lab is designed to nurture early-stage companies developing new technologies for the financial services sector.
The FinTech Innovation Lab London is a collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions in London, supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the City of London Corporation and the Technology Strategy Board. It provides senior level mentoring for entrepreneurs to help them develop and commercialise their innovations, and connect with potential customers at top institutions. Accenture is hosting the 2013 FinTech Innovation Lab London, at Level39, Europe's largest financial technology accelerator space, based in Canary Wharf.
The seven start-ups — chosen by leading industry executives from a large field of applicants from the UK and internationally — include: BehavioSec, Calltrunk, Digital Shadows, Growth Intelligence, Kiboo, Open Bank Project and Waratek. Their innovations range from cloud development tools and "Big Data" security and analysis applications, to search engines for voice recordings, "behavioural biometric" solutions for fighting fraud, open source technologies, and personal financial management tools for young people.
Richard Lumb, Group Chief Executive-Financial Services at Accenture said, "It was a tough task selecting from such a strong field of applicants but we are delighted with the seven chosen entrepreneurs. We believe these innovations can add significant value to the financial sector, and bring benefits to both businesses and consumers."
London's Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse, said, "This project has great potential to bring radical new innovations to our financial services industry and strengthen London's position as one of the world's leading financial centres. I wish the best of luck to this year's FinTech Innovation Lab London's innovators and entrepreneurs."
The chosen entrepreneurs will be mentored for 12 weeks by leading executives from financial services, venture capital and angel investment firms through a series of panel discussions, workshops, leadership coaching and networking opportunities. At the end of the programme, the entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to present their concepts to potential investors and participating industry executives.
Supporting financial institutions include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, RBS, UBS and VocaLink, the UK national payments infrastructure provider. Other participating organisations include Euclid Opportunities, the Greater London Authority and UK Business Angels Association.
The FinTech Innovation Lab London is modelled on a similar programme that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership for New York City Fund, which has already proved highly successful in helping a dozen young financial technology start-ups.
2013 FinTech Innovation Lab London participants:
- BehavioSec. Based in Sweden, BehavioSec has developed a "behavioural biometric" software platform that helps confirm desktop, website or mobile users' identities by analysing the unique patterns in how they type, click and swipe on their computers and mobile devices. It offers companies an additional layer of security beyond conventional usernames and passwords to help fight fraud.
- Calltrunk. UK-based Calltrunk has created a cost-efficient call-recording solution that provides a search engine allowing users to do text searches of audio, such as recordings from call centres, videos, lectures and conference calls. By making the review and management of recordings as simple as searching through email archives, it can help companies improve customer service, compliance, productivity and operational efficiencies.
- Digital Shadows. The UK-based company offers a cyber-monitoring service to help identify and monitor companies' so-called "digital footprints" — information posted online by organisations and employees that amasses over time via social media, cloud services and mobile devices. The service can give companies an outside-in view of their digital presence and help address potential security vulnerabilities.
- Growth Intelligence. UK-based Growth Intelligence provides companies with timely sales-leads, helps improve portfolio and risk management and informs marketing strategies. Nearly all companies release digital information on the web; Growth Intelligence interprets that information using predictive analytics to deliver real-time intelligence on the activity and performance of companies throughout the economy.
- Kiboo. US-based Kiboo has developed a personal financial management platform geared for young adults from the age of 13. It positions the company's insights about younger generations' habits and expectations at the centre of its communications. The platform provides online and mobile tools, including social networking features, to help users learn about finance, earn money through savings, work and investments, and save, spend and give more effectively.
- Open Bank Project. Created by Berlin, Germany-based TESOBE, the Open Bank Project is an open source Application Programming Interface (API) and management platform for the banking industry that enables banks and third-party developers to more rapidly and cost-effectively deliver tailored applications and services to their customers. For example, TESOBE has used the platform to develop a "social finance" application for banks that helps clients, such as non-profits, be more financially transparent by reporting transactions to outside stakeholders.
- Waratek. Dublin, Ireland-based Waratek has created a new technology that could help companies significantly reduce their infrastructure costs. It makes it possible to use one of the world's most common programming languages (Java) to develop cloud-based applications and to transition existing applications to the cloud. By increasing the amount of Java applications that can run on a single server — through a new form of "Java virtualization" — it can dramatically reduce infrastructure costs, lower development costs and promote cloud usage, helping institutions build and improve key areas like online and mobile services more quickly and efficiently.
"Financial services firms are reliant on innovative technology to help provide new products and services to their customers, and also to help them win new customers in an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace," said Garry Tait, Head of IT Operations, HSBC Technology & Services. "The quality of the companies attracted by the FinTech Innovation Lab London is excellent, and is one of the main reasons why we at HSBC are so committed to supporting it."