UK banking giant Barclays is all set to launch its fintech innovation hub Rise in India by June this year. Rise, a network of physical spaces and a virtual community designed to work with innovative start-ups to pioneer the future of financial technology, will have its hub in Mumbai.
With this, Ian Buchanan, group chief information officer of Barclays is hoping to create an ecosystem of fintech focused start-ups that will help the bank solve some of its tech related problems as well as give access to start-ups to a banking culture.
India will be the fifth country where Barclays will be launching this programme. Launched in 2015, Rise first hub was in London, followed by New York, Manchester, Tel Aviv and Cape Town.
“The banking sector has always been the first to face disruption from technology. With these centres the intent is to connect with the startup eco system so that problems that we need to solve can be shared. We feel that a lot of startups and smaller company can come in and help to accelerate this. I think they can be the change agents for us and our partner ecosystem,” said Buchanan to Business Standard.
Under the Rise programmes, Barclays will give access start-ups to co-working space, mentorship and access to the Banks APIs.
“We are not looking at investing in these firms. But we will give these fintech focused start-ups access to mentors and the possibility of having Barclays as their first customer. For us, it allows us to think more like a startup. We will help some of these launch their products,” added Buchanan.
Buchanan gives an instance of Egypt based startup Dopay, which was part of the accelerator programme and is now partnering with the bank to address the needs of the unbaked population in Egypt. “We feel that start-ups are much more focused on creating and solving the customer experience part and that helps a company like us,” he added.
Buchanan believes that the Rise platform and creation of a ecosystem of fintech start-ups will allow people to connect from different geographies as well. “This can allow ideas from the US and UK who want to connect with India and the other way too,” he said.
Buchanan is also hoping that the partnering with start-ups will have a rub-off effect on its internal teams as well. “We created internal teams called co-labs which started in the UK and US and we also have this in our Pune centre. We make the work environment look and feel like a startup and when our teams work with start-ups in the Rise and accelerator programme and they come back and bring that change within the company,” he added.
Along with a focus to tap into the startup Buchanan says that the role of its captive centres and its third part IT services vendors continues to be of importance within the company. The Bank’s Pune centre is one of the largest in the world and employees about 5,500 employees of the total 25,000 in the technology group. It also works with top IT services players in India.
“Though we started our India centre on a labour arbitrage model but that has changed now. It is one of the most mature centre for us. At present we have several projects where all the aspects were done from India. Rather one of our leaders is based in Pune and who handles the global responsibility of Barclays credit card,” he said.
For Buchanan the focus it to move from the traditional water fall development model to a more agile development model that practices a devOps culture. “We are actually working with our captive centre along with the onshore teams and building global collaborative platforms. We will be soon launching a product in Europe it’s a P2P product that has been built by teams in Pune, and the UK,” he added.