22 FinTech Accelerators Fostering Innovation in the Financial Services Industry

April 12, 2016     By : Sofia

The 3D FinTech Challenge is a seven-week, immersive accelerator program designed to empower and accelerate technological innovation within financial services. It is a key element of Dassault Systèmes’ drive to bring accelerated technological, customer-centric innovation to the financial services industry. Dassault Systèmes and Deutsche Börse do not take equity from the startups. Senior executives from Dassault Systèmes’ and leading figures from financial services provide on-going mentoring throughout the program whilst master classes are given by domain experts.

500 Startups is one of the world’s leading global venture capital seed funds and startup accelerators managing $200 million in assets, having invested in 1300+ technology startups. In January, the accelerator launched a FinTech-exclusive batch comprised of eight companies. 500 Startups has actively been investing in financial services startups such as Credit Karma, WePay, Simple (acquired by BBVA), ReadyForZero, FeeFighters (acquired by Groupon), Recurly, CoinPip, etc. They have also invested in eight bitcoin-related startups to date and they plan to invest in another 10–20 per year going forward.

22 FinTech Accelerators Fostering Innovation in the Financial Services Industry


Anthemis Foundry
is a design-focused incubator of the Anthemis Group, an investment and advisory firm in the financial technology space. The incubator believes in focusing on some chosen projects at one time rather than selecting batches of startups with a fixed schedule. Some of its portfolio companies are Atom, Azimo, Betterment, Currency Cloud, Fidor Bank, Moven, etc.

Launched in 2013, the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator is a Berlin-based accelerator looking for trailblazing digital entrepreneurs. The accelerator claims to provide global opportunities from day one through their international network in Europe and Silicon Valley. Three times a year, they run a three-month-long program in which startups are provided with office space in the heart of Berlin, coaching, workshops, networking, 25,000 euros, events and more. The program ends with the Demo Day, where startups will have the opportunity to pitch in front of an elite audience of local and international venture capital firms for additional seed and Series A funding. In addition, startups have the chance to meet Silicon Valley investors as well as go to Silicon Valley.

The Barclays Accelerator Program is a 13-week program in partnership with Techstars. Barclays provides tools, equipment and facilities for startups. In conjunction with Techstars, they provide dedicated mentorship for select startups and entrepreneurs. The accelerator program was initially launched in London and is now being run in London & New York.

Citibank launched its first accelerator program in Tel Aviv in 2013. The four-month program was run three times and a total of 333 startups have participated in it till date. In December 2014, Citi Ventures partnered as the first Platinum-level Global Anchor Partner for Plug and Play to expand its FinTech Accelerator program to the US, Germany, Singapore and Spain. Citi has also launched Citi Mobile Challenge,” a virtual accelerator program that combines a virtual hackathon with an incubator and is focused on the APAC region. Participants of the Citi Mobile Challenge are provided with a FinTech accelerator program that includes mentorship and a virtual and on-site boot camp curriculum.

FinTech Innovation Lab provides a 12-week mentorship program in New York, London, Dublin and Asia-Pacific (in Hong Kong). The global program is run in partnership with Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City as a sponsor while they also have region-specific sponsors. The partners of the program in New York are Ally Financial, American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Guardian Life, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, New York Life, UBS and Wells Fargo.

Founder Institute (FI) is an early-stage incubator that has established its presence in 45 countries. It runs its incubator programs in multiple cities in the 45 countries. It also claims an 80% success rate for its startup graduates. Unlike many other incubators, FI takes a fee from applying graduates, profiles them and upon selection for the program; the founder needs to further pay some fees to attend the four-month program. The founders are required to contribute warrants of a certain percentage to the “shared liquidity pool,” 30% of which is shared with the graduates of the particular program. Some of the FinTech startups from this program are Peerby, RealtyMogul and Zipmark.

Based out of Geneva, FUSION is Switzerland’s FinTech accelerator. FUSION capitalizes on Switzerland’s position as a global hub for financial services as well as its world-beating reputation for innovation to drive the FinTech agenda. FUSION’s aim is to fuse the best of Switzerland with the most promising FinTech talent to lead innovation in financial services. Mentors are drawn from all areas of financial services, such as banking, insurance and commodity trading. The accelerator has an academic sponsorship from some of world’s top engineering research institutes and involvement from venture capital funds, which will syndicate funding.

Launched in 2012, LAUNCHub has invested and committed 7.5 million euros in 60 startups from 10 countries in the SEE region, including Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia, Ukraine, Austria and Switzerland. The LAUNCHub team works with the founders to provide assistance in many ways other than the investments granted. The fund offers startup teams access to a network consisting of experts, tech vendors, successful entrepreneurs and investors. On a strategic level, LAUNCHub is partnering with Seedcamp and Mozilla WebFWD. LAUNCHub operates under the Entrepreneurship Acceleration and Seed Financial Instrument of the JEREMIE initiative of the EIF and EC.

Level39 is one of Europe’s largest technology accelerators for finance, retail, cybersecurity and future cities technology companies. It was launched in 2012 with the aim of being the largest accelerator for the FinTech space. Recently, UBS had opened an innovation lab at Level39 to focus on blockchain and FinTech innovations. It has 513 individual members, of which 52% are from the UK. The 122 company members in the FinTech space are divided as follows: Data & Analytics: 42, Payments: 25, Crowdfunding: 25; Banking Solutions: 13; Trading: 9 and FX: 8.

Main Incubator was formed in 2013 and is run in partnership with Commerzbank in Germany. The program works by accepting invitations from startups. Upon selection, the terms and conditions are set for the startups to enter the program. After four to five months of the initial phase where the team starts building their product with the support (VC funding, office space, and expert know-how) from the incubator, the investment committee reviews the status and decides on further funding.

Plug and Play is one of the world’s largest global technology accelerator and venture funds. Since inception in 2006, the program has expanded worldwide to include entrepreneurs from 24 countries, providing necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley. With over 350 startups and 300 corporate partners, the accelerator has created the ultimate startup ecosystem. Plug and Play provides active investments with 180 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and more than 365 networking events per year. Companies in their community have raised over $3.5 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club, PayPal, SoundHound, and Zoosk.

QC FinTech Lab provides a 12-week intensive accelerator program with mentors from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Experian, etc. in addition to 12 months of free office space. The lab is based out of Charlotte.

Seedcamp is a UK-based venture capital accelerator that offers seed-funding to innovative European FinTech startups. Founded in 2007, Seedcamp holds onto its leadership position and helps startups to grow into high-value global companies. The accelerator team believes that even the best founders will increase their chances by drawing on Seedcamp’s Network of expertise across Europe, the US and beyond. Seedcamp network is over 1,000 strong and covers the key functions of product, branding, marketing, sales, biz dev, technology, legal, HR and finance. In addition, they have a network of over 500 Investors consisting of Angels, VCs, corporates and crowdfunding platforms.

SIX Group FinTech Accelerator F10 in Zurich was launched in collaboration with FinTech startups to enrich the innovative FinTech ecosystem with dedicated staff, know-how, infrastructure and communities whose task is to drive further developments on Switzerland’s FinTech front and develop new technologies for SIX. SIX Group is demonstrating its commitment to innovation with the Swiss FinTech Award. Award applicants have a chance at a cash prize and access to a complete FinTech ecosystem including boot camp, training and networking opportunities.

Startupbootcamp (SBC) is a global network of industry-focused accelerators. It helps startups to go global by giving them direct access to an international network of the most relevant partners, investors and mentors in their sector. Startupbootcamp started in 2010 and now operates globally with 11 accelerator programs and eight locations in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, Istanbul, London, Barcelona, Miami, New York and Singapore.

The Startupbootcamp FinTech Accelerator has some notable sponsors for the local FinTech event: London (MasterCard, Lloyds Banking Group, Rabobank, PWC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Route 66 Ventures, Arvato Bertelsmann, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, MyOrder, Cognito, DLL Financial Solutions Partner and MJ Hudson), Singapore (MasterCard, Route 66 Ventures, Intesa Sanpaolo, Infocomm Investments, PWC, Jungle Ventures, Estellion, Pix Vine Capital and DBS).

Tech City UK provides a platform for digital technology businesses to be established in the UK. They provide support for startups, established businesses and budding entrepreneurs. As part of its goal to support new business idea/entrepreneurs, they have a program called “Digital Business Academy” in partnership with Cambridge University Judge Business School, University College London and digital skills experts Founder Centric. They provide the know-how for a digital business that helps one to start, grow or join a digital business. Another program, Future Fifty, supports 50 UK-based companies to scale their business.

Techstars provides location-specific and function-specific accelerator programs. It also partners with other global accelerators to provide its expertise (e.g. Barclays London Accelerator). While it is not a pure play FinTech accelerator, they do host a lot of FinTech companies as part of their larger portfolio. (e.g. The Gone App, AppInside, Stagelink, Localytics, etc.). Some of its local sponsors are SAP, TaylorWessing, Lowe’s, Todd Walsh, TriNet, Baird, Kurtz Fargo LLP, Bryan Cave, Kendall Koenig & Oelsner PC, Foley & Ladner LLP, CBRE, Pritzker Group, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Lakewest Venture Partners, Fried Frank Technology, Google Cloud Platform, Orrick, Foley Hoag LLP, etc.

The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is a six-month program which is run twice a year. The 2015 event witnessed over 300 applications out of which three startups were selected: Bracket Computing, Context360 and MotionSavvy. Startups who have previously participated in the program include EyeVerify, Kasisto and Zumigo.

Y Combinator is a seed funding organization which invests small amounts in selected startups. They run two cycles every year, once from January–March and once from June–August. The three-month event ends with the Demo Day where startups present to an audience of global startup investors. While this is not a pure play FinTech accelerator, among the more than 800 startups that it has funded since 2005, around 7-8% (~60 companies) are from the FinTech space.

Yodlee provides Ynext as a six-month incubator for startups. The features that it provides are access to the Yodlee platform, guidance & assistance, participation in Silicon Valley boot camps, and a demo day to present the startup to select investors. Accredify, DRAFT, Evolved Bookkeeping, Fidor US, Roostify, Telito and Voatz are eight startups that were unveiled in their May 2015 demo day.

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Sofia

Sofia is a contributing writer for LTP based in New York. She is a market research professional skilled in data analysis and visualization. Sofia has an extensive experience in consumer behavior studies and marketing analytics. She is passionate about disruptive startups with innovative business models that are having a powerful impact on the industries.

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