The London wing of Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab has announced it will welcome a new group of start-ups in 2020. Compared to last year, the number of female founders among the cohort has jumped by 50%.
In a market increasingly favouring collaboration and customer-centred services, the long-standing dog-eat-dog attitudes of male-dominated business are being challenged by businesses launched by women. The number of UK female-founded start-ups has doubled over the last decade; however, despite the opportunities this presents for investors to tap into key market trends, an unspoken bias seems to prevail, as a colossal funding gap still means that when female-founded start-ups do receive investment, it is almost one-third less than the amount received by their male-founded counterparts.
In a move which may help to partially address this, Accenture’s London-based FinTech Innovation Lab has announced it is ramping up its intake of women-founded start-ups by 50% compared to last year. The Lab was initially established eight years ago, in order to assist FinTech firms in expanding their operations – but this year, Accenture also plans to use its organisation to encourage women to take part in these programs and establish their own companies, in a bid to close the gender gap in the FinTech sector.
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Among the cohort of 20 firms listed by Accenture are companies specialising in security, wealth management services, synthetic data (which leverages various uses of artificial intelligence), and deep learning. These companies are working towards solving several different business and societal issues. Those chosen for 2020 include: BITA, Globacap, Invisage, ResonanceX, ChAI, Fintech Sandpit, Hazy, USEncryption, Bewica, Caura, PORTABL.co, ThePensionLab, ApTap, Cerebreo, Ducit AI, LendFlo, Apiax, Cybsafe, Norbloc, and Swidch.
Tom Graham, managing director and executive sponsor for Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab London, noted, “We’re very excited to welcome 20 new FinTechs to the program this year. It’s encouraging to see the UK FinTech landscape continuing to thrive, and particularly good to this year see an increase in female-led companies participating in Accenture’s lab. Its integral we all work to create an equal playing field in a highly competitive space.”
The 20 companies in the programme will be split across Capital Markets, Enterprise Tech, InsurTech, Open Data and RegTech. These firms will reportedly receive mentoring and guidance by more than 45 of Accenture’s financial services clients. Accenture’s three-month long accelerator will end in late March, and will help FinTech firms team up with senior executives from more than 40 leading financial institutions to streamline their core technologies and business strategies.
The London Lab is similar to other programs that Accenture established in 2010 with the Partnership Fund for New York City, the $160 million investment division of the Partnership for New York City. Accenture also introduced the Asia-Pacific FinTech Innovation Lab in 2014. The Labs’ alumni firms reportedly secured more than $2.0 billion in venture capital financing after taking part in the programs.