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Three Blockchain Startups Selected for Barclays Accelerator

(@emilyspaven) | Published on March 23, 2015 at 20:40 BST
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Three startups working on blockchain-related products and services have been selected to join Barclays Accelerator in London this spring.

Enrolled in the 90-day mentorship-driven program, which began today, are bitcoin exchange Safello, bitcoin-based debit card creators Atlas Card, and Blocktrace, which aims to provide blockchain solutions for the insurance industry.

“The selection of Safello, Atlas Card and Blocktrace by Barclays Accelerator, at the very least, signals increased curiosity in the cryptocurrency space,” said Frank Schuill, CEO at Safello, adding:

“That is already a major improvement from when we first started with Safello in 2013. We are moving from dismissal to curiosity. Now it is our job to take it to the next level.”

The fintech-focussed startup incubator is powered by Techstars, which was founded in 2006 and is backed by over 75 VC firms.

Startups from more than 60 countries applied to be part of the program, but only 10 were selected.

Schuill said Barclays was “heavily involved” in the selection process, with the final round comprising a question-and-answer session with 20-30 members of the Barclays team.

Intensive schedule

The chosen companies will receive $20,000 seed funding from Techstars and will also benefit from an intensive schedule of networking, mentoring and development.

Those behind Atlas Card are no strangers to this type of environment, having taken part in Tribe 4's tenure in Boost VC’s startup accelerator.

Atlas Card has something of an interesting set of founders, including James Schuler, who is an Olympic qualifier in pole-vaulting, Thiel Fellow and Y combinator graduate.

Simon Edhouse, co-founder and director of strategy at Blocktrace, explained his company hopes to assist in minimising jewellery-related insurance fraud. The company aims to provide a ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification for various stakeholders, from insurance companies and policy holders to claimants and law enforcement agencies.

Edhouse said being accepted into the Barclays Accelerator program has been a "real honour", adding:

"[It] represents a significant opportunity for us not only because of the immediate high level of attention focused on the solution, but also due to the abundant opportunities for quality mentoring and access to a range of prospective investors and the wider Techstars global network."

Driving innovation

Derek White, chief design officer at Barclays, said he recognises that, to drive innovation within his company, the international financial services provider needs to embrace the innovative startup ecosystem.

“Many of the teams enrolling today are exploring technologies that could particularly help transform the ways banks operate so I’m keen to see how their ideas develop,” he added.

For the next few months, the 10 companies will be based at the London Escalator, an open innovation space in the east of the city.

All the companies involved in the Barclays Accelerator will take part in a public demo day on 22nd June.

The New York-based version of the Barclays Accelerator programme has now opened its application process.

Image via Barclays Accelerator

Atlas CardBarclays AcceleratorBlocktraceSafello

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