British bank Barclays on Wednesday announced the launch of the Mumbai site for Rise, its fintech innovation platform. Rise is a network of physical spaces geared to enable innovation in the financial services space. Launched in July 2015, Rise has expanded to six cities globally: London, New York, Cape Town, Manchester and Tel Aviv (with Mumbai being the sixth).
With the launch, Barclays joins a legion of banks in India that are attempting to leverage the country’s flourishing startup eco-system to aid innovation. Over the past year, private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and state-owned State Bank of India, have also engaged with developers and startups in the country.
“The start-up ecosystem is witnessing a steep increase in activity and interest from investors with even large corporates looking to invest in this space,” says Jaideep Khanna, CEO and country head, Barclays India. Rise, he said, allows the bank to leverage its client relationships and experience to play a role in India’s fintech community.
The platform will provide a site for fintech companies to work together. Rise Mumbai, will operate out of Barclays office in the city and will be equipped with meeting rooms and event spaces. The cost of this would be borne by the bank.
Preliminary talks with at least seven startups will commence soon, officials said.
“Rise engages with about 40,000 individuals and startups,” says Lubaina Manji, Barclays Head of Rise and Group Innovation Office. Those looking to enter the platform need to apply to gain ‘membership’ and can engage with it at different levels, she explained. Barclays didn’t disclose the threshold levels and price brackets within which startups could enter Rise in India. “It depends on the requirements you have,” Manji says.
She said Rise Mumbai would help Barclays to step up the pace of innovation, which would have been difficult to accomplish internally. While Barclays will not invest in the start-ups, the motive, Manji says, is to be the first customer of the start-ups hosted at Rise.