As San Francisco’s LendUp announces $47m in funding we asked Richard Wazacz, Head of Octopus Labs to talk London fintech and the new accelerator!

London has an illustrious history as a global financial hub. But over the last decade or so, it’s pulled off a pretty impressive feat – one that few cities have been able to achieve.

It’s strengthened its traditional sector strength in financial services by combining it with a world-class reputation for technology. London now lays serious claim to being the world capital of fintech. How?

The capital has long been a hotbed of global talent. Surveys regularly show London to outrank its nearest competitors on the desirability stakes and, while Brexit has no doubt caused a period of uncertainty, I’m confident that in the fight for talent London will continue to punch hard.

Far from being an obstacle to the development of innovative financial technology, the FCA has become a proud champion. Its ‘Project Innovate’ has seen it launch an innovation hub and introduce a regulatory sandbox – proving its willingness to allow young and plucky start-ups test their models without getting wrapped up in red tape.

The capital has seen a renaissance in workspaces, incubators and accelerator programmes, producing world-beating fintech graduates like Transferwise & Revolut. It’s a centre of collaboration and support.

It’s this support that we at Octopus Labs – the new part of the Octopus Group – have sought to offer with our new twelve-week accelerator programme. From October we’ll be housing up to 5 product-ready start-ups in our central London offices, providing them with bespoke training and unique access to our distribution network of 3,500 financial advisers and 50,000 retail investors.

We’re looking for bright and ambitious teams developing products that can add value to the adviser community and their clients. And applications close on 16 September, so apply today!

Alongside our accelerator, Octopus Labs will also be self-building our own tech-enabled products in house, too. Products like Octopus Choice – our peer-to-peer lending product which is now open for investment.

We’ll be leveraging our strengths as a business – namely the financial services expertise and distribution channels that we’ve built up over 16 years in business – and adding a new and powerful digital dimension in the form of our talented team of tech developers.

Because, increasingly, we think success will come from the ability to blend old and new; to take the best of established experience, and power it with innovative technology. It’s working for London – we think it’ll work for us too!

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