Global fintech investment reached $24.6 billion last year, already surpassing the results of two years ago. Many traditional financial institutions have bet high on fintech solutions to boost their services, especially those solutions coming from startups and entrepreneurs. Accelerators and incubators play a critical role to that end as they funnel all those fintech ideas and boost the most promising ones. In this article we present the top fintech accelerators in Europe lending a hand to entrepreneurs and startups all over the continent.
As it was pointed out by Deloitte in a recent report titled ‘Fintech by the numbers’, the thinking of many financial institutions has evolved, and they are now seeking more to team with these emerging technology companies to gain access to new markets and products, greater efficiencies, or just the “secret sauce” that makes innovation go. At the same time, many fintechs themselves have sought to join with large financial institutions to expand into markets, gain industry and regulatory knowledge, and even simply cash out.
Accelerators and incubators are therefore the perfect meeting point where these two players can share their ideas and solutions. Accelerators look for new companies that are further along in the process. Their services focus on connecting startups with investors and influencers. On the other hand, incubators offer new players seed funding, help to develop a business model, provide connections with development expertise, and often a place to work.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 fintech accelerators that are making a bigger impact in the industry in Europe according to Fintech News in their article about top fintech acclerators.
Top 10 Fintech Accelerators in Europe
Level39 is probably Europe’s largest technology accelerator specialized in finance, retail, cyber-security and futures cities technology companies. Some of the biggest fintech players have started from there, like Revolut or eToro.
Owned wholly by the Canary Wharf Group, Level39 launched in March 2013. Since then, Level39 has grown from a simple idea into a three-floor, 80,000 square foot accelerator space. Since its inception, Level39 has hosted over 1,200 events, 100,000 visitors and countless global organizations and financial players.
Kickstart Accelerator claims to be Europe’s largest multi-corporate and equity-free accelerator program welcoming some 60 founders from around the world every year.
The accelerator program, which is a 11-week long program, is an initiative of Impact Hub Zurich in partnership with digitalswitzerland and is open to early-stage startups with a promising prototype within six verticals: fintech, smart cities, robotics and smart systems, healthcare, edtech and food. Kickstart Accelerator provides founders with up to CHF 15,000 seed funding per startup and a chance to get an additional grant of up to CHF 25,000, top mentoring, a shared office space and fast-track access to relevant industry partners and the Swiss startup ecosystem.
Denmark based Startupbootcamp is another case of success. The accelerator program started in 2010 and it has become now a global network of industry-focused startup accelerators with 17 accelerator programs across 11 cities.
In Europe, Startupbootcamp runs annual programs in locations such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin and Haifa. Each program of Startupbootcamp focuses on a specific industry.
The Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator program runs in Singapore, Mumbai, New York, Amsterdam, Mexico City and London. The London program is an intensive 3+3 month program that provides ten selected fintech companies with hands-on mentorship from over 100 industry experts, office space in the heart of London, seed funding, and access to a global network of investors and corporate partners from across the fintech industry.
Fintech Innovation Lab
Fintech Innovation Lab is a 12-week program by Accenture that helps early-to growth-stage startup companies refine and test their value proposition with the support of the world’s leading financial service firms. The mentorship program runs in London, Dublin, Hong Kong and New York.
Selected companies receive mentoring from leading firms and VCs, as well as the Lab’s Entrepreneurs Network and Industry Advisors, insights from senior figures and user groups in the financial sector – covering product feedback and potential deployment of proofs-of-concept, weekly workshops and panel discussions on wide ranging topics from procurement and technology architecture to bank regulation and industry trends, and more.
F10 Incubator and Accelerator
F10 Incubator and Accelerator is the innovation center of SIX, a financial services provider that operates the infrastructure of Switzerland’s financial center. The Zurich-based incubator and accelerator aims to support and guide startups in transforming their ideas into successful companies while stimulating worldwide collaboration with international finance organizations.
Twice a year, F10 offers a 6-month “Prototype to Product” program (P2) in which startups are supported in transitioning their prototype to a sellable product. Each team is supported by a coach from the F10 team as well as an external mentor.
F10 also offers an “Idea to Prototype” program (P1) and a Product to Market (P3) for support throughout the developmental cycle of new products, from their genesis as an idea through to emergence to the marketplace.
Powered by Techstars, the Barclay Accelerator is a 13-week program focused on fintech run by a full-time, dedicated Techstars team. The program runs in four locations: New York, London, Cape Town and Tel Aviv.
The program is designed to give the enrolled entrepreneurs access to the bank’s network and mentorship from some of the smartest people in the Fintech world.
Startups are given up to US$120,000 investment from Techstars as well as other corporate partner perks.
Citi Ventures Fintech Accelerator
Located in Tel Aviv, Citi Ventures’ fintech accelerator program aims to accelerate innovation through comprehensive programs and partnerships for entrepreneurs.
Started in 2013, the program has since supported six classes, with over 55 startups graduating from the four-month program. Citi Ventures also supports proof-of-concept tests for startups, both within and outside of its venture investing portfolio, many of which involve partners’ solutions that, if successfully validated, progress to in-market pilots and ultimately commercialization.
ING Fintech Village
The ING Fintech Village is an initiative powered by ING Belgium in strong collaboration with ING Luxembourg, ING Netherlands, the ING Group and other key partners.
Located in Diegem, Belgium, the 16-week program is targeted at technology-driven startups that offer solutions relevant for financial institutions and/or which can help the firm provide superior financial services to its customers.
The program is open to startups that are close to the Proof of Concept stage, with the intention that they can conduct a Proof of Concept or pilot with ING and/or Fintech Village partners to further fine tune their technology, as well as scale-ups that are already in the commercial phase but that want to expand into a completely new way for them and learn from a collaboration with a top tier bank such as ING.
FinLab focuses on developing German fintech startups and providing venture capital for their financial needs, whereby in each case the aim is a long-term participation and ongoing support of the investment. FinLab also invests globally, as part of venture rounds, in fintech companies, primarily in the US and Asia.
Copenhagen Fintech is a joint initiative by the Danish Bankers Association, the City of Denmark and Financial Services Union Denmark, and it was established as a non-profit organization with partners from different sectors.
The member-driven organization aims to connect its entrepreneurs with regulators, policy-makers, educators, researchers, policy-makers and Fintech companies both in Denmark and abroad. Copenhagen Fintech offers a wide range of programs in order to help companies scale and expand globally, as well as several initiatives and events to connect Danish startups with international stakeholders and investors.
Fintech solutions have taken the financial world by storm. In Europe, a traditionally reluctant and over regulated sector, fintechs have had to make their way through. While 15-20 years ago it was a niche market with only a few companies from the e-commerce and payments sector betting on high technological solutions, nowadays all great financial institutions have adopted many of these ideas or they are in the process. And these accelerators are just a new channel to boost breakthrough ideas into fruition.
Simon Pearson is an independent financial innovation, fintech, asset management, investment trading researcher and writer in the website blog simonpearson.net.
Simon Pearson is finishing his new book Financial Innovation 360. In this upcoming book, he describes the 360 impact of financial innovation and Fintech in the financial world. The book researches how the 4IR digital transformation revolution is changing the financial industry with mobile APP new payment solutions, AI chatbots and data learning, open APIs, blockchain digital assets new possibilities and 5G technologies among others. These technologies are changing the face of finance, trading and investment industries in building a new financial digital ID driven world of value.
Simon Pearson believes that as a result of the emerging innovation we will have increasing disruption and different velocities in financial services. Financial clubs and communities will lead the new emergent financial markets. The upcoming emergence of a financial ecosystem interlinked and divided at the same time by geopolitics will create increasing digital-driven value, new emerging community fintech club banks, stock exchanges creating elite ecosystems, trading houses having to become schools of investment and trading. Simon Pearson believes particular in continuous learning, education and close digital and offline clubs driving the world financial ecosystem and economy divided in increasing digital velocities and geopolitics/populism as at the same time the world population gets older and countries, central banks face the biggest challenge with the present and future of money and finance.
Simon Pearson has studied financial markets for over 20 years and is particularly interested in how to use research, education and digital innovation tools to increase value creation and preservation of wealth and at the same time create value. He trades and invests and loves to learn and look at trends and best ways to innovate in financial markets 360.
Simon Pearson is a prolific writer of articles and research for a variety of organisations including the hedgethink.com. He has a Medium profile, is on twitter https://twitter.com/simonpearson
Simon Pearson writing generally takes two forms – opinion pieces and research papers. His first book Financial Innovation 360 will come in 2020.