Eileen Burbidge, The Treasury’s Special Envoy for Fintech

Britain’s fintech start ups have the chance of a lifetime to get corporate coaching, access to funding and to clinch crucial contacts, thanks to a new mentoring programme run by Tech Nation.

Applications will be accepted from 13 June to 27 July and the lucky participants will be notified in mid August. The programme kicks off in September.

The UK government is sponsoring a new initiative to hothouse a select group of Britain’s Fintech start ups identified as ideal candidates for rapid growth. It has invited candidates to apply to join the first ever acceleration programme run by Tech Nation, the IT business support body founded by David Cameron.

The government is keen to finance finch start ups as they are more likely than most to boost the economy. In 2017 British fintech firms attracted a record £1.34 billion in venture funding. This represented 44.8% of all funding raised within tech in the UK.

Fintech alumni of Tech Nation’s existing programmes include the likes of Zopa, Transferwise, Monzo and Trussle.

Successful applicants will be mentored by some of the nation’s foremost technology entrepreneurs. They will also be introduced to the US market and influential contacts.

Coaching will cover key issues such as regulation, sales, partnering with incumbents and international expansion.

Candidates will also meet top decision makers at our biggest financial institutions and investment firms. The programme will culminate in a showcase trip to the US to give the cohorts a feel for the American market’s dynamics and investors.

The Tech Nation programme is open to early-stage fintech companies looking to partner with, sell to, or otherwise work directly with other businesses, large or small.

To qualify, companies will need to be between seed and Series A stage, and be able to demonstrate market success for their product – and they must be UK based.

Among the influential judges is Eileen Burbidge, The Treasury’s Special Envoy for Fintech and the chair of Tech Nation. Burbidge is also a partner at incubator Passion Capital.

The Tech Nation Fintech programme will help some of the UK’s most promising fintech companies to grow and scale, said Burbage.

“Fintech has transformed many traditional financial services and brings huge benefits to the UK economy,” said Burbidge. “The UK is already a world leader in fintech. This programme will help us to maintain that advantage.”

The design of the programme is based on input from dozens of key fintech players and builds on the experiences gained from initiatives such as Future Fifty, Upscale and Founders Network, according to Gregoire Michel, Tech Nation’s fintech lead.

The plan is to bring a decade’s worth of domain expertise from successful fintech veterans to the most promising new start ups. Having built successful fintech companies in the UK in the past decade they can give key insights to power the growth of new start ups, both during the programme and afterwards, Michel said.

Competition for acceptance is expected to be high and candidates will be assessed by some of the top creative talent in Britain’s fintech sector. Judges include Anne Boden the CEO of Starling Bank, Anil Stocker, founder of MarketInvoice and Imran Gulamhuseinwala, Global Head of Fintech at EY and Open Banking’s Implementation Trustee

by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor