Barclays Bank goes in search of the next Paypal at African accelerator

Barclays Bank says it wants to find the next Paypal after selecting the second cohort of 10 companies to participate in its African accelerator programme.

Shortlisted from a global field of applicants, the ten successful startups will undergo a rigorous 13-week growth acceleration programme at Barclays Africa’s Rise fintech innovation hub in Cape Town from mid-May.

The banks says technology from the best graduates could be made available across its African footprint comprising close to 12 million customers in ten markets, with participants getting the opportunity to work alongside its business and technology teams.

The 2017 programme participants are: Flexpay (Kenya), Howler (South Africa), Spatialedge (South Africa), (USA), The Sun Exchange (South Africa), Byte Money (South Africa), Avenews-GT (Israel), FOMO Travel (South Africa), Kapitalwise (USA) and eCOIDA (South Africa).

Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief creation officer at Barclays Africa Group says: “Our diverse, ambitious, and growth-hungry African continent with its young population is finding a growing self-actualization momentum now more than ever, with the largest segment being the millennials. Through our deep and lean collaborations with fintechs, and in fact all kinds of startups, we aim to further drive this momentum that can result in the creation and accelerated distribution of new products, experiences, and services that will make a difference for our African communities.”

Barclays Rise innovation hub in Africa is one of network of hothouse environments created by the bank to bring together a global community of startups and experts to solve some of its biggest business challenges. Operating under the motto ‘connect, co-create, scale’, Rise covers a multitude of digital initiatives, including the Barclays Accelerator programme, powered by Techstars.

“Each of the ten successful companies represented something unique that we believe has the potential to become a significant and relevant player on a global scale,” says Yossi Hasson, MD of Techstars, of the new African contingent.

He says the aim is to uncover the next Paypal: “Access to Barclays Africa’s base is a significant opportunity for these fintech companies to greatly accelerate their growth through partnership or distribution deals with Barclays and access to their senior executives as mentors, providing key expertise to the startups that ordinarily would be almost impossible to get access to.”