Techstars is on fire these days. In addition to running their normal immersive, cohort based startup accelerator programs, the Boulder based company has started partnerships with big corporations like Sprint and Barclays for industry focused startup accelerators. The Barclays accelerator, is in it’s second year and of course is all about financial tech startups, or “fintech” for those in the know. That 13 week, cohort based, immersive and intense accelerator program began in London yesterday and will graduate with demo days on both sides of the pond this summer.
As with any Techstars, or other high caliber accelerator program, the applications were thick but the class was just a handful of the best of the best. In this case, 10 startups were chosen out of hundreds of applicants from over 60 different countries. The teams selected have moved to London from as far away as Australia, Nepal, Sweden, San Francisco and New York City. There were also a few folks from the UK selected.
All of the startups have something to do with financial technology. However, what’s interesting with this second cohort of the Barclay’s accelerator is the fact that three of the companies have to do with Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, probably the hottest segment of the fintech space right now.
The three blockchain related startups that were chosen for the accelerator are:
Blocktrace which provides immutable ledger for diamond ownership & related transaction history verification for insurance companies, claimants & law enforcement.
Safello a Europe-focused Bitcoin exchange with plans to expand into payments.
There is certainly major validation here for those working on cryptocurrency startups.
“The selection of Safello, Atlas Card and Blocktrace by Barclays Accelerator, at the very least, signals increased curiosity in the cryptocurrency space,” said Frank Schuill, CEO at Safello, adding: “That is already a major improvement from when we first started with Safello in 2013. We are moving from dismissal to curiosity. Now it is our job to take it to the next level.”
The Bitcoin space has attracted some very interesting players including child star turned entrepreneur Brock Pierce who sits as the President of the Bitcoin Foundation. James Schuler an Olympic qualifier in pole vaulting, a Thiel fellow and a Y-Combinator graduate is the founder of Atlas Card.
This is sure to be one of the most interesting accelerator sessions. Barclays is now taking applications for their New York program here.