Leg up for financial technology start-ups

Incubator programme aims to foster technology innovation in the financial sector

At the FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin launch were (from left) Enterprise Ireland’s Kevin Sherry; Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton; Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell and Alastair Blair, Accenture Ireland

At the FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin launch were (from left) Enterprise Ireland’s Kevin Sherry; Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton; Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell and Alastair Blair, Accenture Ireland

 

Consultancy firm Accenture will today launch a Dublin-based accelerator programme, aimed at supporting start- ups in the financial technology field – or “fintech” as it’s commonly called.

Accenture and the Partnership Fund for NYC launched the first FinTech Innovation Lab in New York in 2010, and the 24 companies that have graduated in the four years since have raised almost $100 million (€79 million) in venture financing.

Now, the company is bringing the programme to Dublin, and hopes to accelerate tech innovation in the financial services industry and boost economic and employment growth.

Applications will be accepted from today, and six early- stage companies will be selected to participate in the programme. The lab will run for 12 weeks from January to March, during which time the entrepreneurs will develop and road-test their innovations under the guidance of mentors.

They will receive office space and mentorship from senior executives at AIB, Bank of Ireland, Fexco, Citi, Google, PayPal, State Street, Realex Payments and Ulster Bank.

Organised approach

Programme head Graham Healy said the company had been involved with start-ups through Enterprise Ireland on an ad-hoc basis for the past few years.

“We wanted a more organised approach to helping start- ups . . . we had this programme running in New York and more recently London. This year we are bringing it to Dublin.”

According to Central Bank data, two-thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups in the first five years of existence, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said at the launch.

“Today’s announcement that Accenture is establishing the FinTech Innovation Lab in Dublin, to provide top-class support to fast-growing young companies, is a great boost. The fact that Dublin is hosting a FinTech Lab, after New York, London and Hong Kong, is a great endorsement of the environment that exists here for start-up businesses,” he said.

Dublin’s Commissioner for Start-Ups Niamh Bushnell said it was “fantastic” to see multinationals such as Accenture creating a forum to bring together entrepreneurs, private industry and government.

“It’s only through this type of joint approach that we will be able to create a reputation for Dublin as a great start-up city,” she said.

The programme is open to young Irish companies that are developing cutting-edge technologies for the financial services sector, particularly in mobile, data management, analytics, security, risk management and social media.

To be accepted onto the programme, applicants must have a beta version of their technology available, and demonstrate that access to senior-level executives from the technology and financial services industry would have a meaningful impact on the company’s growth prospects.

At the end of the 12-week programme, participants will be given the chance to pitch to investors in Dublin and London.

The FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin is modelled on a similar programme that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City. One participating company on the New York programme has since been acquired for $175 million.

In 2012, Accenture and a dozen major banks in London launched the FinTech Innovation Lab London, with support from the city’s mayor and several government bodies, and earlier this year, the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific made its debut in Hong Kong.