Barclays launches Rise London, the new 'home of fintech'
Barclays this week opened the doors to the new HQ of its flagship innovation centre, Rise London, the largest fintech co-working space in Europe.
“Welcome to Rise. Welcome to the future of Barclays,” Michael Harte, Barclays’ Group Head of Innovation, told an audience of investors and entrepreneurs at the launch of the bank’s new fintech hub, Rise London, in Shoreditch, to the east of the city.
The purpose-built site on Luke Street will house more than 40 of London’s most exciting fintech companies, including those in the current cohort of the Barclays Accelerator scheme for emerging startups.
Opening the new building – which, with 30,000 square feet of office space over seven floors is the largest fintech co-working hub in Europe – Barclays Group CEO Jes Staley said: “Barclays is a technology company at its core now.
“How do we maintain our success in the face of new technology, and how do we have the mindset to defend what is so critical to the institution? One of the responses of the bank is Rise, and that says that we’re not afraid of new technology, we embrace it.
Rise London began in 2015 in Whitechapel as, in the words of Harte, “an experiment”. Magdalena Krön, Head of Rise London, oversaw the move from those smaller premises to Rise’s new home on Luke Street, a five-storey building that was transformed into a modern workspace in a matter of months.
“This new location will give Barclays a unique advantage in the ecosystem and London’s fintech start-ups are taking note,” she told guests. “Many have already signed up to become members of Rise, and I’m confident that this building will become London’s new home for fintech.”
Krön expects to welcome some 2,000 innovators every month “to connect and share knowledge” and is confident more companies like Whitechapel alumni Crowdcube and Everledger will be attracted to the Shoreditch hub.
Rise successes from around the world also presented their stories to the audience at the launch. Gadi Ruschin from Tel Aviv’s Wave, Meghna Surayakumar from Mumbai’s CrediWatch and Andy Ambrose from New York’s Liveoak all spoke of the benefits of collaboration with Barclays colleagues and mentors. Ambrose described his technology company’s relationship with Barclays as “a very real partnership” and thanked the bank for its support. “You have opened up opportunity to us and put us on the centre stage of global fintech and we are forever grateful,” he said.
The eleven companies in the 2017 Barclays Accelerator cohort showcased their innovations to the assembled crowd. There have been more than 3,000 applications to the programme since Rise London launched and those on stage will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Seldon, a machine learning startup whose CEO Alex Housley said he was “thrilled” to be headquartered at Rise London.
“Working with Barclays and being part of the Rise family has led to countless opportunities and many business referrals,” he said. “We believe the next wave of fintech will be driven by large financial institutions working alongside fintech startups.”
Ky Nichol, CEO of fellow Accelerator graduate Cutover, also said that Rise had been fundamental to his company’s growth: “It’s allowed us to extend our geographic reach, and we’re set to open in New York in 2018. But our HQ will be right here,” Nichol said to cheers, “in Rise London.”
Harte told the crowd that Rise’s mission was to “reinvent financial services, create new value for customers, new revenue, new markets, and new opportunities to scale”. He added: “For us, the more vibrant we make the fintech community, the greater the value contribution to customers and shareholders as well as to the financial services sector as a whole."
Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, said: “Being here and seeing this come alive has been an incredible journey. Innovation is in our DNA, and it’s events like this and teams like this that give you the courage to take on the battle and say that we’re going to keep on the cutting edge and define what the future looks like.”