Barclays UK Ventures: developing business models for the future

07 February 2019

Ben Davey, CEO of Barclays UK Ventures, spoke to the FinTech Insider podcast about Ashok Vaswani’s vision to create a new business unit to identify, incubate and scale new ideas in response to customers’ needs – while “keeping the disruptive mindset”. 

Barclays UK Ventures (BUKV) is on a mission to accelerate the future of banking – combining emerging technologies with intuitive design to make customer engagement more personal and relevant. The focus is on two central themes: connecting communities and building new business lines across financial and non-financial propositions.

BUKV was created in April 2018 in recognition of the challenges of the outside market and the great advances that many companies are demonstrating. Speaking on the FinTech Insider podcast, hosted by fintech consultancy 11:FS, Ben Davey, CEO of BUKV, said: “The banking industry is at the tail end of mass restructuring” and “the next round of challenges is all about the march of technology: the extent to which current and emerging technologies are challenging existing business models, and the different ways the banking industry can take on the new opportunity and revise their strategies.”


Ben Davey, UK Ventures

The team has an independent mandate to identify, incubate and scale ideas in response to customers’ needs. Davey explained: “it’s potentially the best of all worlds. If we can find a way of keeping the disruptive mindset but maintaining the distribution capability and customer base of the bigger Barclays, and we can test ideas in independent environments before bringing them back in for scaling – then hopefully we’ll have something very special.”

Davey is a former mergers and acquisitions (M&A) specialist who became CEO of BUKV having been Barclays’ Group Head of Strategy. He is seeking to replicate a start-up mentality with a multi-disciplinary team, combining deep technology and investment experience. The unit brings together – amongst others – developers, designers, data scientists, marketing, strategy and M&A. According to Davey, “just under half the team can code, just about half the team have investment experience, and we have 15 founders and co-founders”.

The unit will seek to explore five or six different themes. These opportunities will be captured through a combination of organic build-out, commercial partnership and venture investments. Davey revealed that Barclays UK Ventures will be looking for early-stage companies with disruptive ideas to invest in and co-develop customer propositions alongside.   

The team will be sharing more of their progress as the year unfolds.