The investment firm behind one of London's top venture capital funds is doubling down on one of the hottest areas of tech with a dedicated lab specialising in all things fintech.
Octopus Investments, whose venture capital firm Octopus Ventures backed successful startups such as Swiftkey (acquired by Microsoft), Magic Pony (bought by Twitter) and Zoopla, will launch a fintech accelerator program as part of the move.
Octopus is looking for firms already at the stage of being ready to launch a product, eyeing up either investing in the startups it accepts into the program, or incorporating them into the lab's own range of products which it will also be working on.
It has already launched its first - a p2p lending platform called Octopus Choice - and plans to target the areas of financial advice, which it believes technology has yet to disrupt. The technology will be used by the investment firm's network of financial 3,500 advisers who give advice to retail investors.
The 12 week accelerator program will offer mentoring and central London office space, and with applications now open, will kick off in October.
Octopus will eye up investing in the startups it accepts into the program, or incorporate them into the lab's offering.
“Octopus Labs takes the existing strengths of our business – our established customer base, distribution channels, skills and expertise – and adds a start-up dimension. The result is a powerful new force that will quickly develop new products and services to form part of the Octopus stable," said head of the labs Richard Wazacz.
“Our accelerator is a great example of the ambitions we have as a business unit. We want to take existing innovations and ready them for our mainstream audience of advisers and retail investors."