Jun. 1, 2020
A giant financial institution working with startups to help change its industry
[Barclays] London, UK
Rise is a platform for the world’s brightest thinkers and doers operated by Barclays, a British multinational bank and financial services company headquartered in London. It is de- signed to create the future of financial services, providing opportunities and space for entrepreneurs in this field.
One of these is a 13-week accelerator program, a joint project with Techstars, a leading US-based accelerator. Techstars has a network of 14,000 entrepreneurs, corporate partners and investors in 168 countries.Barclays is a 326 year-old financial institution that brings its accumulated skills and trusted reputation to the project. These invaluable networks and resources are all available to the program participants.
By gaining free access to exceptional mentors familiar with finance, law, and business, as well as free office space, participants can learn all aspects of financial services they are planning to develop. They can also learn about viable business models to respond to those needs.
Behind Barclays’ creation of Rise is its awareness of the need for a long-established bank to revitalize and reinvent itself. New technologies invented by fintech companies have been bringing massive change to the world of financial services.
Using the innovative technology, it is much easier for businesses of all sizes to bypass banks for money management and loans. In a time of rapid change, it is easy to imagine that traditional banks are feeling a sense of crisis. In response to this, Barclays decided to open Rise in major cities around the world to establish connections with the start-ups.
The London office of Rise is located between the tech centers of Old Street and trendy Shoreditch.
Rise in London is the seventh venue opened after New York, Tel Aviv, Mumbai and others. It is located in Old Street Roundabout, sometimes called London’s Silicon Valley near the trendy Shoreditch, rather than the financial district. It is designed to attract young and bright people, encouraging the exchange of ideas for further innovation.
In addition to the offices occupied by the selected startups, there are areas intended to encourage the free exchange of ideas, such as communal spaces, meeting spaces, and event spaces where pitches can be made.
The thinking here is that if collaboration occurs within the fintech community gathered here, innovation will accelerate. “Due to the collapse of several major financial institutions, there have been times when such financial institutions have lost credibility,” says Michael Harte, Barclays’ Group Head of Innovation.
“In response, the financial regulatory agencies intervened, which triggered changes in the way financial services act. Fintech needs to develop its services by working together with the regulators. By joining in new ventures, we can create the services customers want. We cannot build future financial services without co- operation between regulators, fintech, our corporate partners, and Barclays’ development team.”
Inside of the Rise building, there is a workshop called Eagle Labs. This serves not just fintech but also for wider innovations. Twelve separate branches have been established so far in the UK.
Equipped with machines such as 3D printers and laser cutters, production work can be handled on- site. A fee will be charged depending on whether the users make things themselves or they receive support from the technicians. Users can also receive business advice on how to expand their network.
Eagle Labs also holds workshops, with a variety of contents that respond to local characteristics and needs. The equipment in each lab will also vary.
For example, the Brighton branch has more manufacturing tools; Cambridge, where many electronics manufacturers are based, has soldering equipment and other related equipment; while London, with a focus on IT, has more laser cutters.
Although their functions are is a bit different, Rise and Eagle Labs share the ethos of supporting innovation and growth.
The result of their work will also contribute to the growth of Barclays itself. As the company’s vision statement says, “When society prospers, we all prosper.”
Consultancy for Work Style: N/A
Interior Design: N/A
Architect: Hale Brown
From WORKSIGHT 12 (2017.12)
One of the prototypes created at Eagle Labs. This child’s prosthetic hand was created with a 3D printer; the material cost was only £7.
Another prototype is a system for tracking ships, transmitting not only positional information, but also temperature and humidity data. It was devel- oped in just over two weeks, at a cost of £750.