FinTech Wales kicks off its third accelerator programme
FinTech Wales, the not-for-profit membership organisation for the FinTech and Financial Services industry in Wales, has opened the applications process for the third season of its accelerator programme, the FinTech Wales Foundry. The closing date for applications is 19th August, 2022.
The 12-week, no equity accelerator programme, partnered by Cardiff Capital Region, Confused.com and Principality Building Society, is the only one of its kind in Wales, providing world-class mentorship and support to help incubate, accelerate and scale startup organisations within the Welsh ecosystem and beyond. It provides essential support to selected startup businesses across banking, insurance, financial services and FinTech to address the challenges of fundraising and successfully scaling up their operations.
The Foundry has already taken 16 companies through the first two programmes, and has supported them to collectively raise over £20m investment, which in turn will create hundreds of jobs. In the most recent round of the programme, half of the businesses who took part were initially based in England, Poland and Portugal. However, after graduating all eight companies have a presence in Wales.
Entrepreneur Neil Cocker has been announced as the programme director for the second time, having also directed the second cohort, which graduated in May this year. Neil, a highly passionate practitioner and believer in the power of clusters in the community, has previously founded three tech businesses and bootstrapped these to six-figure revenues, and created Cardiff Start, which has been supporting entrepreneurs and startups for the past decade.
For this new cohort, Neil and the Foundry programme partners will bring together a team of industry leaders to deliver a 12-week calendar of intensive mentoring and high-level introductions, geared towards successful fundraising and post-investment growth.
He said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be back as programme director for FinTech Wales’s Foundry Programme. It’s incredibly exciting to work with founders to nurture them through to the next stage of their growth, and I can’t wait to see what startups apply for season three.
“For our third cohort, we’re looking for FinTech startup entrepreneurs from Wales and around the world, who are developing an early stage business and looking to validate it, with a view to raising investment and going to market. Having founded a number of businesses myself, and through the commitment and support of the Foundry’s partners, Cardiff Capital Region, Confused.com and Principality Building Society, we’re perfectly positioned to provide the support startups need to validate their business, tell their stories and raise investment, to ultimately scale up their business globally.
“Throughout the programme we will also introduce our Foundry entrepreneurs to leading Welsh-based enterprises, and show them the value of developing a company in Wales. It’s fantastic to see that all eight organisations from season two, whilst didn’t all originate from Wales, now have or are planning to set up a presence here.”
Successful applicants for the third cohort of the Fintech Wales Foundry scheme will be announced in September, and will then begin an intensive programme of online and bi-weekly in-person mentoring sessions in Cardiff, Wales.
Sarah Williams-Gardener, FinTech Wales CEO, commented: “The Foundry is a key element in our strategy to establish Wales as a globally recognised FinTech Hub of excellence. Our first and second cohort of businesses have collectively raised over £20m in investment, and most importantly, these businesses now have a presence in Wales, bringing jobs, innovation and ultimately, a boost to our economy.
“All eligible FinTechs should apply for this programme – as well as having 12 weeks of mentorship and guidance, those who are accepted onto the programme are introduced to FinTech Wales’ community, which prides itself with industry leaders across Wales and beyond. Our members and mentors have been there before and know the challenges professionals face when starting a business.”
“We could not be more excited about what we are creating through the Foundry, and to have Neil on board once again is fantastic. His experience of creating and scaling businesses is second to none and we couldn’t have wished for a better programme director” Sarah added.
FinTech Wales launched in April 2019 to provide an independent voice for the FinTech industry, both within Wales and all over the world, to champion and maximise the potential for all businesses in this sector.
As well as nurturing and supporting those businesses already in Wales, it aims to develop an ecosystem that will encourage and attract new FinTech companies to startup or scale up in our region. Ultimately, the goal is to make Wales a leading pillar in the global FinTech community.
Earlier this year, Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) announced a £1.6 million, five-year investment in FinTech Wales, which will be spread over a five-year partnership between CCR and FinTech Wales, and will see the two organisations work closely together to deliver on CCR’s commitment to establish Wales as a leading FinTech sector in the UK.