Barclays, Anthemis to Create Female Innovators Lab for FinTechs
Among the many things that Silicon Valley is often criticized for is that many successful startups are seen as “boy’s clubs.” In many cases this same label extends to FinTech firms as well. Now Barclays and Anthemis are teaming up in an attempt to change that. This week the two companies announced that they would be co-launching a studio for female entrepreneurs in the world of FinTech.
The Female Innovators Lab will be located in New York City with a goal of making FinTech more inclusive and diverse. Barclays and Anthemis say that the lab will help female entrepreneurs in the earliest stages of their startups work to develop and execute their visions by providing them with various resources including networking and investment opportunities. As they grow, startups can move to Barclays’ Rise building where their mentoring can continue. According to their site, there is no formal application process for the Female Innovators Lab. Instead inquiries from those interested in being considered will be accepted on a rolling basis.
In a press release announcing the New York City studio, Barclays and Anthemis cite Pitchbook research from 2017 that found just 2% of venture capital funding goes to female-led startups — this despite such businesses generating more revenue than comparable male-run companies. Speaking to the problem at hand, Anthemis founder and CEO Amy Nauiokas said, “A commitment to diversity has been a core part of Anthemis’ DNA since our inception. Even so, we’ve seen a disappointing number of venture-backable companies led by women come through our pipeline.” Nauiokas continued, noting, “15% of the startups in our current portfolio have female founders. While that is well over the industry average, it’s not enough. We are thrilled to work with a partner who shares our mission to close the entrepreneurship gender gap in FinTech, making sure that women’s ideas get the encouragement, mentorship, and, ultimately, funding they deserve.”
Barclays managing director of group innovation Mariquit Corcoran also shared her excitement for the project, saying, “By supporting female entrepreneurs at the earliest stage in their journey, I am hopeful that we can significantly improve diversity in the wider FinTech investment ecosystem. In addition to the close alignment with Barclays’ wider strategy on diversity and inclusion across the bank, our partnership with Anthemis will continue to drive innovation and open up opportunities for Barclays and our colleagues, clients and customers.”
Although Barclays’ and Anthemis’ Female Innovators Lab may be a small step, it’s a positive one. Hopefully, by partnering together, the two companies can help a new generation of FinTech startups to thrive. If so, it looks as though the future of FinTech is female.