SWIFT’s Innotribe collective of ‘blue sky technology thinkers’ is to launch a London Startup Challenge on 18 April at Level39 on the financial services-heavy Canary Wharf estate in East London. Small tech firms and businesses with entrepreneurial ideas are being invited to pitch their ideas to the leading banks and investors based at Canary Wharf, aping the recent Finovate event held in London where good ideas attract money, and two winners will go through to present at SWIFT’s Sibos trade show later in the year.
The London Startup Challenge will see 15 small technology and financial services companies competing to convince the banking sector to take on their innovative products and services. A panel consisting of heavyweight global financial services firms, ventures capitalists (VCs) and other industry professionals is promised, which will then select the best two start-ups from London to go forward to the global grande finale to be held at Sibos 2013, SWIFT’s annual conference, which takes place in Dubai this year during September.
The London Innotribe Startup Challenge is part of a global programme, with other regional showcases to be held in Singapore and New York, all of them designed to unearth the technologies and ideas which will help shape financial services in the future. The submission deadline for the London Startup Challenge is 10 March 2013.
Level39 is Canary Wharf Group’s new specially-designed ‘accelerator space’ for the financial and retail technology sectors. Due to open in March, its aim is to provide a sophisticated office and social space for businesses to create, test, market and deliver the next generation of FS technology products and services. The Canary Wharf property estate is part of London’s Tech City initiative and hopes to see the new financial hub of the UK capital rival existing tech clusters in the old heart of London’s financial services sector, where the so-called ‘tech roundabout’ has sprung up around Old Street on the fringes of the City of London’s square mile. Canary Wharf describes Level39 as, “Europe’s largest FinTech accelerator space”, and aims to improve the transparency, competitiveness and client services of London’s financial services sector via this initiative.
Linking up with SWIFT’s Innotribe collective is part of this effort. Matteo Rizzi, co-founder of the Innotribe, said about the cooperation between the two that: “Level39 is an important catalyst for innovation in the financial industry, and instrumental in positioning London as a hotbed of new and strategic initiatives. Innotribe is delighted to be part of an enterprise that will help drive innovation forward.”
Successful pitchers should get publicity and relationship development opportunities, while the London’s winners making it to Sibos stand an even better chance of getting VC funding.
“It is very exciting to welcome the London Innotribe Startup Challenge as one of the first events at Level39, Canary Wharf,” said Eric Van Der Kleij, head of Level39 at Canary Wharf Group. “London has some of the smartest tech people in the world. If we can help mobilise them to transform financial services, they hold the potential to significantly benefit the global economy and in turn enhance London’s position as the digital and financial capital of Europe. Our vision for Level39 is to be the place where technology and financial services converge in London. The aim is to foster the right kind of financial innovation, resulting in enhanced transparency, compliance whilst meeting the needs of customers.”
The Innotribe Startup Challenge is sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, HP, Level39 and Sberbank. Applications for the Innotribe Startup Challenge are now open.