Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab London Launches its Ninth Year

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In its ninth year, Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab London
welcomes a cohort of 20 fintechs, many of whom have offerings that
tackle societal, financial and sustainability challenges as we
enter 2021.

2020 was an extremely challenging year for consumers and
society. From financial wellbeing worries and cybersecurity threats
to exacerbated social inequalities and an ever-growing climate
crisis- the need for
UK fintech to serve as a force for good
has never been greater.
Indeed, despite the global pandemic, UK fintech investments saw a
marginal gain of 3.8% in the first half of 2020 to just over £2
billion from £1.9 billion in the first half of 2019. The UK was
the world’s second-largest market for fintech investments, behind
the United States, emphasising the need for fintech here in the
UK.

To ensure this year’s cohort was best placed to tackle key
business and societal issues through its programme streams, the Lab
approached over 40 of the financial institutions collaborating with
Accenture on the programme to determine their priorities for 2021.
As a result, the following four new programme streams have been
established to address the most pressing issues facing financial
services and its customers today: Purpose, Emerging Tech, Security
and Data.

This year’s list of innovative start-ups are working to solve
a myriad of business and societal problems, spanning climate risk
analytics, security, green finance, debt-management platforms, data
risk, uses of AI to remove bias, ESG investing and more.

For example, Ophelos is a fintech disrupting
the consumer debt space by helping households and financial
institutions to prioritise financial wellbeing with its AI-driven
digital debt collection tool. Elsewhere, Vested
Impact
is a start-up with a new approach to ESG investing,
using automated AI capabilities to focus on the societal impact of
a firm’s product or service. Another example is
CoGo, the only app that allows consumers to track
their carbon footprint and their societal impact together, by
categorising and assigning a carbon footprint to each payment
transaction.

“The events of last year took us all by surprise and forced
all financial institutions to react rapidly to changing demands,”
said Graham Cressey, FinTech Innovation Lab
programme director, Accenture UK. “If there’s anything we’ve
learnt from such a challenging time, it’s that there’s never
been a greater need for purposeful organisations to make a
difference at speed. With a customer-first outlook and innovative
capabilities, fintechs may hold the key to quickly helping society
on its road to recovery, making them valuable partners in the
industry.”

Funding for fintechs led by minority groups has historically
suffered and wasn’t helped by the pandemic. As part of
Accenture’s commitment to ensuring fintechs from all backgrounds
have the opportunity to excel, the Lab put out a strong call for
start-ups from diverse backgrounds, in terms of gender and race, to
apply to this year’s programme. This led to this year’s Lab
having the most diverse set of finalists the Accenture programme
has ever had, where out of the final 20 firms, 40% are female-led
and 45% are led by minority ethnic groups.

Cressey added: “Supporting fintech as a force for good means
nothing without looking inwardly at this year’s cohort itself,
which is why we are proud to have a diverse Lab team and to be
supporting founders from all backgrounds in a bid to level the
playing field.”

During the three-month accelerator programme which runs 11th
January to 31st March, thefintechs will be partnered with senior
executives from over 40 of the top UK financial institutions,
industry leader mentors and Accenture’s own subject-matter
experts to fine-tune and develop their technologies and business
models.

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Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab London Launches its Ninth Year

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