Barclays Officially Opens Hub to Catalyse Fintech Innovation in Africa
Last month, ex-Barclay’s CEO Antony Jenkins warned that banks face massive disruption within the very near future. Similar to how the popular ride-sharing app Uber is upsetting the balance within the transport industry, so too does the financial services sector face inevitable disruption. Technologies such as cryptocurrencies, blockchains and mobile are opening up cheaper, faster and more secure avenues for services.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, Barclays has officially launched the African arm of its global innovation network called Rise. Located in Cape Town, South Africa at the The Bandwidth Barn, the hub is also partnering with the renowned global accelerator,Techstars.
The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), the entity to which The Bandwidth Barn belongs, aims to foster open innovation and digital collaboration through its Virtual Innovation Clusters.
“This collaboration with Barclays Rise follows on from a very successful partnership with Telkom which runs its FutureMakers programme in partnership with the Barn,” CiTi CEO Ian Merrington explained.
Rise has over 20 000 startups in its network around the world, with established hubs in London, Manchester, New York and now Cape Town. The programme is also opening up new offices in India, Tel Aviv, and Vilnius in Lithuania. With its entry into Africa, the multinational banking giant seeks to further create a community for startups, corporates and innovators, helping them connect, co-create and scale the ideas that could become the next revolutions in financial services.
“We’re seeing really intense disruption,” explained Ashley Veasey Chief Digital Officer for Barclays Africa, the architect of Rise in Cape Town. While many companies are frightened and reserved about this imminent disruption, Barclays is said to embrace this challenge.