Barclays signs contracts with 3 startups after Cape Town fintech programme


Barclays has signed proof of concept agreements with three startups that participated in its first Tech Lab Africa programme in Cape Town, while ventures taking part in the programme raised US$10 million in funding.

Disrupt Africa reported in October Barclays Africa had chosen 10 startups to take part in its 13-week Tech Lab Africa accelerator programme, aimed at providing startups with access to business mentors, industry leaders, influencers and experts.

The startups were chosen from 90 applications, with the programme established as part of Barclays’ Rise open innovation platform, which also operates in London, Manchester and New York. It was administered and run by Zachariah George of Cactus Advisors and Philip Kiracofe of Horizen Ventures Africa, and entailed weekly participation in a leadership programme featuring meetings with senior executives, investors and experienced entrepreneurs, together with workshops, office hours and panel discussions.

It was announced at yesterday’s demo day that Barclays had signed agreements with three of the 10 startups to test their products, while participating startups had also raised US$10 million in funding from external sources. Seven of the 10 have engagements with Barclays across Retail and Business Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking.

The three startups that will continue to work with Barclays are universal core identity registry and mobile platform Consent, web-based invoicing platform Invoice Exchange and electronic payments solution Peach Payments. All three have signed proof of concept deals to test their products with Barclays.

Also taking part in the Tech Lab Africa programme were patient engagement solutions company 30DayHealth, integrated health solutions company Health Solutions Africa, online healthcare booking platform RecoMed, tech-based private microlending firm Aella Credit, blockchain technology for financial institutions Cape Hill, digital commerce and financial services platform Intel World International, and peer-to-peer payments app integrating bitcoin ZapGo.

There was an average 25 per cent increase in revenue and transaction volumes across the cohort, as well as an increase in employee headcount and customer acquisition for most of the 10 ventures. All 10 ventures entered into service level agreements with at least one other venture in the cohort, while one venture closed a merger with an external entity, and two of the ventures merged business entities together.

Barclays has signed partnerships with almost 30 startups that have taken part in its other programmes, with its most recent programme in New York seeing 10 of the 11 startups taking part sign deals with the bank.

Stephen van Coller, chief executive of corporate and investment banking at Barclays, explained to the demo day audience why it was so important for Barclays to run programmes such as Tech Lab Africa.

“If the pace of change outside your organisation is faster than the pace of change inside, then you’re on a slippery slope,” he said.

“There is a great depth of innovation happening in Africa, and we really felt we needed to access it. We fundamentally believe the growth engine of Africa is going to be SMEs and entrepreneurs.”

Craig Bond, Barclays chief executive of retail and business banking said it had been a no-brainer when it came to choosing to locate the Rise Africa programme in Cape Town.

“We see great universities, a very cool city to work in, a place innovators and entrepreneurs want to be. The government is very supportive of innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship. It was a pretty simple choice for us,” Bond said.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde gave the keynote address at the event, and commended Barclays for launching the programme and backing local companies.

“I reckon banks are the next sector that will be disrupted. We’re running a very archaic model. Those disruptions are going to be coming,” he said.

The programme saw strong ecosystem and corporate engagement, with 17 Barclays executives and 20 external mentors, including Bill Paladino, Manuel Koser, Vasili Sofiadellis, Keet Van Zyl, Mike Smit, Gareth Jane, Gisele Aymes, D’Niel Strauss, Alexandra Fraser, Anthony Stonefield, Deon Kruger, Ernst Hertzog, Natalie Miller, Paul Brown, William Kleynhans and several others.

Partners and experts that engaged with Tech Lab Africa included Amazon Web Services, PwC Accelerator, ENS Africa, Batstones, StartupBootcamp, OutsourcedCFO, Ogilvy, Inside Man Media, Information Logistics, Playlogix, YueDiligence, Esselaar Attorneys, Geist Video, VoicingYourPotential, Polymorph, and Bizfit.

Tech Lab Africa is just one part of the Rise Africa platform. Applications are now open for the Barclays Accelerator, held in partnership with Techstars, while in November the company hosted its Supply Chain Challenge. Kenyan startup Markit Opportunity was crowned the winner, taking home the US$10,000 prize.



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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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