Next to the remarkable achievements of Team GB in Rio, fintech has been one of the UK’s greatest success stories in recent years. A flurry of startups have made it their mission to tear up the financial services rulebook, disrupting everything from retail banking and business loans to currency exchange and money transfers. It’s led to a sector that is currently worth £6.6 billion, with this figure only expected to grow, despite the uncertainty of Brexit.
That being said, there’s still a lot to be done before fintech can truly reach its potential. According to Octopus Investments, the fund management company, most of the innovations that have been spun out by fintech startups are still “unfamiliar and unpalatable to both financial advisers and retail investors.” Moreover, as the company points out, the world of finance and financial products remains complex, confusing and inaccessible to many. With this in mind, Octopus has launched its own fintech accelerator programme, which it hopes will “fix the broken financial services sector”.
The 12-week accelerator scheme is one part of Octopus’s new fintech business unit, Octopus Labs. As well as inviting startups onto the scheme, Octopus will also be ‘self-building’ its own fintech solutions in-house. It follows the launch of the company’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending product, Octopus Choice, earlier this year.
When our founders launched Octopus sixteen years ago, they did so with a belief that the financial services sector was broken. Richard Wazacz, Octopus Labs
Octopus will only be accepting product-ready startups onto the accelerator scheme, which will provide them with mentoring, office space in central London and access to Octopus Investments’ network of financial advisers and investors. At the end of the programme, businesses will be given an opportunity to receive investment or be ‘spun in’ by Octopus.
The company hopes the scheme will see the creation of “next generation fintech products capable of catering for financial advisers” – or “advisertech”, as it has dubbed it.
“When our founders launched Octopus sixteen years ago, they did so with a belief that the financial services sector was broken, that customers deserved better, and that we could deliver it,” said Richard Wazacz, head of Octopus Labs. “The world has changed dramatically for our customers since then – but our ambition hasn’t. We want to rebuild financial services the way it should be.”
Commenting on the accelerator scheme, Wazacz added: “We’re excited to start receiving applications – and even more excited to start supporting our selected teams on their growth journey.”
Applications for the programme are open until 16 September, so if you’re a fintech startup with an exciting product, make sure you apply before it’s too late.