The UK’s leading bank has announced the opening of the new innovation site in London, which is set to be the largest financial technology centre in Europe.

Barclays aims to grow its fintech business with the launch of the new fintech site in Shoreditch, London. According to the bank, it will become the largest co-working space for fintech startups in Europe.

The project is part of the Rise initiative, which aims to drive innovation in the financial technology sector. Rise brings together a community of fintech startups and Barclays’ corporate clients to work on products and services for the financial sector.

“We believe that technology must be a core competency of a global financial institution, and we intend to be a leader in the industry. Last week we announced the creation of 750 new jobs in our UK technology centres,” said Jes Staley, Barclays Group Chief Executive.

“FinTech startups are at the front of the technology wave that is changing our industry. Through Rise, we glean important insights; we can actively experiment with emerging technologies, and we can spot early trends and new markets as they form. This allows our employees, customers and clients to do things faster, better and at lower cost.”

The new Rise site in London will host over 200 hours of hackathons, workshops, learning and networking events each month. It will serve as a gathering space for leaders in the venture capital and fintech sectors and will house more than 40 fintech companies, together with Barclays’ technology and banking teams. Under the program, the bank has already established Rise workspaces in Manchester, Mumbai, New York, Cape Town, Vilnius and Tel Aviv.

In each centre, the bank operates Barclays Accelerator, an award-winning course powered by Techstars. The program helps fintech startups to scale up their projects by connecting them with mentors and investors.

Michael Harte, Group Head of Innovation at Barclays, said: “Rise is an open innovation platform to engage FinTech startups with customers and clients to invent new business solutions. Our vibrant community taps into the agile and disruptive nature of these ventures. By matching FinTechs with the business challenges that we face as a diversified financial services firm, we drive customer and shareholder value. For us, the more vibrant we make the FinTech community, the greater the value contribution to customers and shareholders as well as to the financial services sector as a whole.”

The opening of the new innovation centre demonstrates the strength of the fintech industry in the UK. Despite the recent split from the UE, the country continues to be at the forefront of digital innovation.

Barclays is also actively exploring the distributed ledger technology and already conducted trials with the BNY Mellon. Last year, the bank unveiled a blockchain-based smart contract system for managing financial agreements. The application was developed with the use of Corda system which was created by R3 CEV consortium.

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