Shoreditch meets the City: RBS, Lloyds and American Express challenge startups to create FinTech of the future

Lynsey Barber
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Startups, banks and finance firms will partner ro create innovative technology (Source: Getty)

Leading financial firms are laying down the gauntlet and challenging startups to come up with the next financial technologies of the future.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds and American Express are just three of the finance firms putting their weight behind the search to find digital innovations which will address areas such as financial education, cyber security and hyper-local transactions.

The competition to find the best FinTech innovations will reward five startups with a share of £175,000 of funding and the financial institutions will partner with the winners to help make the products and services commercially viable.

In the competition, run by Innovate UK’s IC Tomorrow programme (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), RBS and the department for business will be looking for small and medium-sized firms with proposals for authentication systems which can be used by banks, finance organisations and their customers to increase security and efficiency.

Talking about the partnership, digital economy minister Ed Vaizey told City A.M. the department was backing the search to support innovation and growth among small businesses.

“Good cyber security is crucial to keeping our finances safe, which is why we’re supporting this contest to develop innovative new ways of securing the technology we use," said Vaizey. "Supporting innovation and growth in Britain’s small businesses a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan. I hope that this contest encourages firms to get creative and develop the secure financial innovations of the future.”

Lloyd’s is looking for a startup that will improve financial literacy and skills among consumers in an engaging and intuitive way and “make a real difference to people’s lives” “ said Lloyds Banking Group’s director of innovation and digital development Marc Lien.

"We were keen to support Innovate UK in encouraging the country's most creative digital start-ups to identify solutions that will make a real difference to people's lives. We know that improving financial literacy has a significant benefit to society, empowering people to understand their finances and better manage their money. It is also central to building a stronger economy, which together reinforce the commitments Lloyds Banking Group has made to help Britain prosper."

IC Tomorrow and American Express will be searching for a startup with ideas on hyper-local transactions that can help small businesses and retailers improve digital payments. It’s also looking for ideas on using data in innovative ways such as influencing consumer behaviour and encouraging them to shop locally.

Two further challenges will see Accenture partner with one lucky firm to innovate in the area of compliance and regulation and the Money Advice Service and Experian find a tool or service which helps vulnerable groups improve their financial management with the help of digital technology.

All the winners will potentially have the opportunity to trial their product or service with the banks and financial institutions. Entrants have until 21 April to apply.

Matt Sansam of IC Tomorrow, the government’s innovation programme which works like a tech incubator by providing funding and advice to contest winners, said the competition will help UK firms focussed on FinTech get their ideas off the ground as well as helping established finance firms identify innovative ideas from startups.

“The UK has become a hotbed for financial technology innovation, with many of the world’s fastest growing companies basing themselves here. This collaborative contest aims to support and accelerate their growth by providing commercial introductions to industry leaders. It also enables UK-based global players to harness the creativity of startups and help bring their ideas to market,” said Sansam.

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