Barclays Africa launches Rise: a global start-up community pioneering financial services and unlocking Africa’s potential

Africa’s innovators and start-ups will have the ability to scale their ideas in new markets following the launch today of Rise, a physical and virtual community that facilitates collaboration and fintech innovation.

Funded by the Barclays Africa Group, Rise is ideally positioned to take advantage of technology solutions that are not reliant on physical infrastructure. This is particularly relevant in the African context as it provides developing markets with an opportunity to leapfrog ageing analogue infrastructure deployed in most developed economies and with it the ability to solve some of Africa’s development challenges.

The ability to bring scale to new ideas has long been at the centre of the Barclays proposition. By connecting the world’s most active innovation ecosystems, Barclays is confident that Rise can assist in co-creating ground-breaking products and services with entrepreneurs from across the continent.

“The financial services industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and new tech start-ups are challenging traditional business models,” says Ashley Veasey, Chief Information Officer of Barclays Africa. “This is possible, in principle, because advances in technology are enabling bright minds to develop solutions that compete with the best of those developed by big corporates. We aim to partner and collaborate at the forefront of this change.

In addition to the digital platform, Rise has physical innovation hubs in London, Manchester and New York, and is set to open one in Cape Town in December. With over 5 000 start-ups interacting through the RiseLondon and Manchester hubs in the first year alone, over 20 hackathons being hosted and over 130 companies having made use of the global sites, Rise Cape Town is set to enable Africans to connect, co-create and scale the next big thing in financial services.

The Cape Town hub will be home to a number of open innovation programmes including the Barclays Accelerator and includes co-working facilities, a world-class events space, and a bespoke setting for the Barclays Accelerator programme.