Looking at becoming anchor clients in some fintech start-ups: Ram Gopal, Barclays India
Ram Gopal, Chief Operating Officer, Barclays India spoke regarding the Rise Accelerator, the 11 start-ups that they picked initially, investment into them and other plans ahead.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation push has suddenly thrown the spotlight on India's growing fintech sector and startups in that space including Paytm. Barclays Bank has created 'Rise Accelerator' in Mumbai to focus on the sector and solve their problems.
Zeebiz team spoke to Ram Gopal, Chief Operating Officer, Barclays India regarding Rise Accelerator, the 11 start-ups they picked initially, investment in them and plans ahead.
What is the reason for Barclays to create a start-up accelerator?
What we are try to is three things, first is to connect with the people who seem to have response or put together responses for some of the problems that we have in the financial services industry. The second principle is to co-create, having made the connect can we envision products or services for the industry. The third is to commercialise it. There are several people out there with ideas that are calibrated to problems or the changing taste in consumers, but the fundamental insight of how to scale up a business for which we are in a sweet spot and how would we be in a position to help them monetise their ideas and product.
Did you look at start-ups which would solve your company's problems?
Problems can come from governments we work wit or from clients that we work with or from within the company.
The first start-up that we showcased for example was for blockchain technology that we think of very highly and has potential to change of the costs in the industry. So we want to develop some IP around that. The problem sets could come from anywhere, that is the idea. You think of a product based on customer research and you figure out what or how we can implement that could be one way of thinking about that.
Has Barclays invested in the start-ups at the accelerator?
In the UK, US there is some investment shape from us. In India, this has been our inaugural run and our desire is that we want to get there. Because that will do two things, one is that it will up the profile of the people that we back. The other is that it just concretises the efforts over the 6 months acceleration process. We are thinking about that as a next stage, but there are several ways in doing this. You could say you want stake in the company, but in some ways it would be more meaningful if you hand out a contract for X number of years so that idea has an anchor client in a big brand like Barclays. Some find that more powerful than doling out money. There are several start-ups here which we are looking at becoming their anchor clients.
Why did you restrict it only fintech start-ups? Are they plans to get other start-ups into the accelerator?
Because that is our core competency. We are in the financial services industry. There could be many technology associated with it such as blockchain, AI, big data, etc. We believe there are few technologies around this. So we believe that few of these are where our future is predicated on and we want to be associated on. But I don't see us move beyond financial tech. Anything which helps the financial services industry is how I look at it.
What is the road ahead for Barclays with these start-ups?
The next one would be a platform where they could connect to investors. There are people who have capital and are looking for the right people. There are corporations looking for solutions and there is a simple way we can connect these 11 ideas is people who either have advice or insight and the conversations move forward. Separately of those 11 ideas as of one of the companies represented here we will see whether some of them can be ported into Barclays.