Like any (hung) over enthusiastic journalist I managed to arrive at the opening of RISE three hours early. Wait. Let me make sure I have this absolutely correct because there’s been some evolution of the RISE brand. It started off as something like Barclays Escalator, AKA Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars, that was three years ago, when they were based at Whitechapel with Central Working, the building now closed and facing a total demolition refurb. The brand is now officially know as RISE.
I recall the ‘birth’ of RISE, back in 2015, the same year as the pilot edition of The Fintech Times newspaper. We were based in the same building and we watched it hatch. And it was unclear exactly what it did, or was, the website wasn’t up to much, and no one seemed to really ‘get it’. All very authentic as far as being a startup goes, even one off shot from an institution. Now, two years on, it’s quite clear what RISE is. At least it’s clear what RISE London is. It’s the single biggest fintech ‘centre’ in London. Which means the UK. Which means Europe.
It’s a building on Luke street in the centre of Shoreditch. Seven floors, light, spacious, designed to attract literally hundreds of fintech startups and entrepreneurs into a space which provides, via its connections, access to a Globalised network of clients, mentors, advisors, investors, developers, and of course, banks. Barclays in particular.
RISE is a system. A system for accelerating the evolution of financial technology. It’s a service for entrepreneurs who take the leap, usually from a corporate job, into the maelstrom that is the process of envisioning and ultimately delivering a new financial services company of their own. It’s a commercial accelerator for Barclays, who have so far from the evolving RISE project, signed 30 working agreements with cohorted startups, even whilst RISE themselves were running in alpha & beta of their own development.
By my reckoning RISE has taken around 18 months to take form and make sense. Timescale wise, that’s about on par for a startup to understand itself sufficiently to be in a position to scaleup. They tested the concept, proved the concept, refined it, and are now ready to roll it out at scale and in style.
RISE – London’s new home for fintech. I think they have it right on.
co-founder of The Fintech Times