Some might suddenly realize after millions of euro spent that they don’t need Blockchain, while others are eager to prove that this technology is here to stay and change the way things work for the better.
Cointelegraph continues its investigation into the world of fintech accelerators in our search for the hottest new Blockchain startups. Last time we looked into Adam Draper’s Boost VC. Now it is turn for Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars.
Variety of accelerating programs
If we look at the crowd of Blockchain startups, we might notice the majority of them are scheming to disrupt banks. However, there are many scratching the surface to unveil potential of Blockchain far beyond financial industry. Seeking to disrupt a certain industry startups might want to consider joining an accelerator program.
Currently there are more than 2,000 of them globally. A few of them have consistently had the lion’s share of funding success, as reported by Mattermark. The top three accelerators in the US were responsible for 10 percent of the total number of Series A investments. One of them is a Techstars Accelerator.
We heart Blockchain
The underlying characteristics of Blockchain, particularly scalability, immutability and transparency make this technology extremely attractive for a number of use cases. Techstars has invested in a number of Blockchain startups.
Chris Adelsbach, Managing Director of Techstars in London said to Cointelegraph:
“I love it as it constitutes a new set of banking rails that massively reduces friction in transactions. This makes opportunities like banking the unbanked in the emerging world not only possible but profitable. Imagine the scale of the good that could happen by harnessing the scale of investors to bring basic savings, loans and international remittance to the masses!”
Financial technologies have definitely matured over the past few years. Adelsbach notes that there has been generally a huge interest in Deep Tech (AI, Machine Learning, Big Data). Techstars has been working with simulation-as-a-service company Simudyne which is using agent based modelling well suited for modelling complex systems such as banking and economy.
Adelsbach has been personally investing in fintech startups for over three years. He notes that if he sees a founding team with deep tech that is addressing a big chunky problem, he often invests.
For Cointelegraph he chose his most favorite startups among those accelerated by Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars.
Top 5 among Techstars
Everledger is using Blockchain, smart contracts and machine vision to assist in the reduction of risk and fraud for banks, insurers and open marketplaces.
“They are ensuring provenance in valuables such as diamonds, wine and art - which should ultimately help reduce insurance fraud and crime plus the CEO, Leanne is a whirlwind of positive energy.”
Everledger has built a global, digital ledger that tracks and protects valuable assets throughout their lifetime journey. Asset’s defining characteristics, history and ownership are collected to create a permanent record on the Blockchain, which is accessible to various stakeholders across a supply chain pipeline to form provenance and verify authenticity.
Atlas.money, provides financial access to people all over the world by hooking into existing social systems, allowing for access to security, loans, and other financial products.
“They are making a big splash in Ghana, but have a plan to grow across the emerging world. You will hear more about them in 2017.”
Aire.io is bringing a new approach towards credit scoring with the right moral compass. Combining industry expertise, machine learning and an in-depth understanding of the issues faced by many people, Aire has built a service that allows businesses to access a new, financially capable population.
“They continue to get increased traction in the UK and abroad by providing alternative credit scoring for individuals with 'thin credit files," says Adelsbach. “This has improved lenders overall economics and helped provide lower cost of credit to a previously neglected part of the population.”
Railsbank has built a banking and compliance platform that connects a global network of partner banks with companies that want API access to global banking. Railsbank is on a mission to simplify access to banking services such as creating digital ledgers, connecting digital ledgers to real bank accounts, issuing IBANs for ledgers, sending and receiving money, converting operations (FX), collecting money, issuing cards and managing credits – all via the Railsbank API.
“Railsbank is solving an acute problem in banking and compliance by connecting global banks to fintechs who want API access to global banking,” explains Adelsbach. ”They can famously do this with just "five lines of code."
Smart Pension helps ensure that UK small and medium businesses and their employees have access to a competitive workplace pension through an easy to access API. The final staging of SME's now underway and it is a requirement of law that all SME's provide a workplace pension, Smart Pension has signed up 25,000 SME's in just the past nine months.