London is a sprawling economic hub that boasts a mind-boggling 750 FinTech companies. The “Big Smoke” represents 84 percent of the UK’s VC, CVC, and PE investment volume, making it a desirable place for startups to find their financial feet. Looking for investors? Connections? Opportunities? Here are 8 FinTech accelerators in London you need to know about in 2020.
List of FinTech accelerators for startups in London
Below you will find the most interesting FinTech accelerators for startups based in London.
- Bethnal Green Ventures
- Barclays Accelerator
- Fintech Innovation Lab
- NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
- Blenheim Chalcot Venture Builder Accelerator Programme
Smack-bang in trendy Shoreditch, Seedcamp calls itself “Europe’s seed fund,” and this isn’t an exaggeration. London FinTech company identifies and invests in early-stage companies and establishes connections through its network of partners. There’s an emphasis on European founders, but Seedcamp, founded in 2007, has a truly global reach and has powered FinTech companies like Revolut and TransferWise.
Founded in 2011, Ignite is one of the leading accelerator programs in the world. It has invested in more than 150 companies so far and even partnered with Google. With backing from the European Union, their three-month pre-accelerator and six-month accelerator programs provide you with the resources you need to scale your business. Ignite offers investment opportunities to FinTech accelerators worldwide, so you don’t need to be a UK-based company.
What to expect: £20,000 in exchange for 8 percent equity.
If you’re a FinTech startup based around a good cause, Bethnal Green Ventures wants to hear from you! This accelerator provides investments to companies that want to change the world. There’s a focus on sustainable and democratic tech, but this accelerator is open to all ideas, with an intensive program that runs twice a year. Launched in 2010, Bethnal Green Ventures offers mentorship and educational opportunities as well as funding.
What to expect: £20,000 in return for 6 percent equity.
The name says it all. This accelerator attracts FinTech startups looking for investment and mentoring opportunities in London. The super-intensive 3+3 month program connects 10 selected companies with more than 100 industry experts and office space in the middle of London. Startupbootcamp was founded in 2010.
Powered by Techstars, Barclays Accelerator is an award-winning 13-week program based in New York City, Tel Aviv, and of course, London. Lucky startups will get access to Rise, the largest FinTech co-working space in the capital and a chance to meet the world’s most influential investors. Alumni include a credit scoring company Aire and a cloud-based payroll service Dotpay, as well as a number of Code & Pepper partners: Fibourne, Nimbla, Oathello and Simudyne.
Jonathan Miles Baker from Simudyne has agreed to answer a few questions for us. Jonathan worked at Simudyne at the time when the company went through the Barclays Accelerator program and we’ve been curious why they had chosen this particular organisation. First of all, the reason Simudyne decided to work with Barclays was the impeccable reputation of the accelerator as the top FinTech institution of its kind.
“Barclays does a great job introducing you into the company and helping you secure an enterprise deal, which is normally one of the most challenging steps for an early stage FinTech company. Barclays are committed to working with startups and were great partners to us”, says Jonathan.
Among the most important perks of participating in the program, he mentions access to great networking opportunities as well as prompt and accurate feedback regarding the product, including advice on how to make it “enterprise ready”.
The biggest milestone Simudyne has achieved thanks to the program was landing their first enterprise contract. Jonathan mentions that the accelerator helped them get in front of the top venture capitalists. We also asked Jonathan what would be one key thing he would recommend to other startups that want to take part in the program. His advice is to have a live product that is ready to sell or test. Barclays can help you accelerate its adoption, but you need it in the first place.
What to expect: Up to £120,000 for 6 percent equity.
FinTech Innovation Lab London has been an annual accelerator program started and conducted by Accenture since 2012. It operates by offering zealous, newly-founded companies business mentoring for three months, as well as chances for networking with banking giants and good advice from experienced entrepreneurs. What drives the London branch of FinTech Innovation Lab is the opportunity to be close to promising projects at the very beginning.
Besides the word “London” in its name, the accelerator program accepts applications from the whole world.
NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator program is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs over the course of six months, when they can gain traction and start monetizing or find active investors. NatWest’s experts help FinTech startups reach new, international markets. The program is very inclusive and you don’t even need to have an operating company to join it. All it takes is a powerful pitch, a great idea and the will to work hard.
Jonathan Miles Baker had some experience with NatWest too, when he worked at Iona Mind. They’ve decided to grow with NatWest for similar reasons Simudyne had chosen Barclays—it’s an established high street bank in the UK, so credibility and visibility were prioritized.
According to Jonathan, NatWest has given Iona Mind more than a network of contacts (including the program’s alumni, who are always ready to help) and feedback from experts. The company was also offered office space in central London and weekly mentoring sessions. The biggest success Iona Mind has achieved thanks to NatWest was releasing the first product, supported by marketing activities (including a formal press release) conducted by the accelerator itself.
If you want to join NatWest’s program, Jonathan suggests you think of ways it can become your strategic partner and how both you and the accelerator could benefit from the partnership.
Blenheim Chalcot is one of the most important British venture builders and an operator of quite an attractive accelerator programme. Aspiring entrepreneurs can get not only access to financial assets of the organization, but also go through 5 stages of the Venture Builder. It starts with initial incubation, where experts assess and test the new enterprise’s model for up to 6 months. During this time, Blenheim Chalcot and its finance team work with the business owners to prepare the startup for closer contacts with appropriate investors. Later on, the following 4 stages can take up to 3 years, which makes this FinTech accelerator one of the longest on the market. Being this long, however, makes it a very stable and safe environment to grow your business.
Obviously, Blenheim Chalcot’s Venture Building Services and Investment Support include help at all aspects of starting a company, such as marketing, accounting, taxes, training, networking, etc. Unfortunately, it’s also a very exclusive club, where only 2-3 ideas are grown each year. If you have a brilliant one, though, feel free to apply here.
FinTech accelerators in London: your thoughts
So that’s our curated list of top 8 startup destinations to drop by in London. Do you have any experiences connected with these accelerators? Or maybe you’ve benefited directly from their initiatives, just like some of our clients? Tell your story on our LinkedIn profile! If you feel like this post might prove useful to other founders and business owners you know, feel free to share it with them. Sharing is caring, and we deeply care about the growth of the FinTech community.