Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and 9 leading payment companies and financial institutions have opened applications for the second annual FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin, launching a search for the top financial technology (fintech) innovators in Ireland. Open to businesses from Ireland who are developing leading-edge technologies for the financial services sector, the FinTech Innovation Lab is a 12-week mentoring programme that helps entrepreneurs accelerate product development and gain exposure to leading financial-industry executives, culminating in Investor Day pitches in Dublin and London. The programme builds on the recent announcement by Accenture that it will establish a Centre for Innovation in Dublin.
Launched locally by Accenture in 2014, the programme gives early-stage companies the opportunity to develop their product or proposition under the mentorship of C-level executives. This year, Credit Suisse has joined in support of the FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin; financial institutions and technology companies continuing their support from last year include Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Citi, FEXCO, Google, State Street, Realex Payments and Ulster Bank.
Six finalists will be selected to participate in the Lab, which begins in January 2016, and will be partnered with senior-level industry mentors who will help them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies. The programme culminates in “investor day” pitches in Dublin and London from the entrepreneurs to an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives.
Applications for entries will be accepted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 30. To apply for a place on the programme, interested companies should visit www.fintechinnovationlabdublin.ie.
Commenting on the launch of the second FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin, Alastair Blair, country managing director for Accenture in Ireland said, “Technology is a major contributor to the Irish economy, and digital is a major growth driver for many Irish businesses, not just those in the pure technology space. Ireland is home not just to many of the most famous technology brands in the world, but also to some of the most talented and exciting smaller tech companies and start-ups. The FinTech Innovation Lab is testament to the need for corporates and start-ups to work together to drive collaboration and reinforce Ireland’s technology credentials, The programme, combined with our recently announced Centre for Innovation, demonstrates Accenture’s continued commitment to bring innovation to its clients.”
Sinead Barry, programme lead for Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin, said “This programme aims to bring early-stage Irish fintech companies to the next level and, for those that are ready to scale and go global, connect them with leading financial services and technology companies internationally. Entrepreneurs who take part will have the opportunity to collaborate with other forward-thinking companies, and can benefit from Accenture’s extensive knowledge of the Irish market, as well as leveraging our global network of technology and industry contacts. We believe that the Lab can act as catalyst to develop the wider financial services industry significantly in Ireland, in line with the national IFS2020 strategy.”
Frederick Herrera, CEO of Videobot, who participated in the inaugural FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin in 2014, said “Taking part in the FinTech Innovation Lab last year was a hugely beneficial experience for us. From continuous mentoring and advice, to access to senior executives from some of the largest banks in the world, the support we received was invaluable. Participating in the programme was a definite springboard to our development, and our profile has increased significantly as a result. We now have relationships with key companies, both here in Ireland and abroad, and have set up a part-time base in London. We’re now exploring partnership opportunities with industry-leading businesses, and this is directly on the back of the connections we made at the FinTech Innovation Lab.”
Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said “According to Central Bank data, two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups in the first five years of existence. That is why we have put supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups at the centre of our Action Plan for Jobs. I am delighted to see Accenture continuing this initiative for the second year to support early stage FinTech companies in Ireland. The fact that Dublin is hosting the world’s fourth FinTech Lab, after New York, London and Hong Kong, is a great endorsement of the environment that exists here for start-up businesses. I look forward to seeing the results – in terms of new businesses and jobs – in the coming years.”
Pictured at the launch of the Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin, which took place at the Startup Gathering, are: Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Sinead Barry, Programme Lead for Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin; and Ged Nash, Minister of State for Business and Employment.
About The FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin
The FinTech Innovation Lab Dublin is open to young Irish companies that are developing cutting-edge technologies for the financial services sector, particularly in the areas of mobile, data management, analytics, security, risk management and social media. Applicants are invited to apply to participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab at www.fintechinnovationlabdublin.ie.
Through a competitive process, six early-stage companies will be selected to participate in the programme and will be mentored by some of Ireland’s most experienced executives from the technology and financial services industries. To be accepted, applicants should 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.
The Lab runs for 12 weeks, during which time the entrepreneurs will develop and road-test their innovations under the guidance of mentors. These mentors will assist the selected companies in developing their products for real-world application, helping them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies through a series of workshops, panel discussions, user-group sessions, networking opportunities, one-on-one meetings and presentations.
At the end of the 12-week session, participants will be offered the chance to attend two Investor Day presentations, one in Dublin and one in London, where they will pitch their product to an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives.
The Dublin Lab is modelled on a similar programme that was co-founded in 2010 by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City, the US$115 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City. In 2012, the FinTech Innovation Lab London was introduced. The Dublin Lab made its debut in 2014, as did the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong. Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised more than US$240 million in financing after participating in the programme.