Members of Barclays’ two startup ecosystems, Rise and Eagle Labs, continue to address the challenges presented by Covid, with Barclays strengthening its support for them and their innovation initiatives.

Members of Barclays’ two startup ecosystems, Rise and Eagle Labs, continue to address the challenges presented by Covid, with Barclays strengthening its support for them and their innovation initiatives.

The current market environment for startups

2020 has seen significant disruption for the startup ecosystem. Customer behaviour has changed, startups have had to adapt to new ways of working and fundraising has been challenging.

Some changes have seen an acceleration of existing trends, such as the migration of services to digital driven by social distancing measures. Nimble startups, including members of our Rise and Eagle Labs ecosystems, have been able to pivot their propositions to address this shift. Moreover, perhaps reflecting the sector’s agile nature, a recent industry report[1] suggests that 60% of FinTech executives actually report a positive impact of Covid on the market fit of their product and approximately 50% report a positive impact on collaboration with financial institutions.

But profound uncertainty remains, including how long the pandemic will last and the length and depth of the associated economic impacts. Furthermore, these and other impacts vary by sector.

Cash flow management remains a key issue for most startups. To mitigate the worst economic effects, the UK Government has made several funding schemes available. One example is the Future Fund, launched in May 2020 and aimed at unlisted UK companies that had received at least £250,000 in private investment. In response, we have set up the Eagle Labs Funding Readiness Programme to help entrepreneurs navigate the funding landscape.

[1] “Covid19 Crisis Effects on Financial Services”, Ravco Marketing & FSClub Collaborate

Responding through innovation and agility

Several of our Eagle Labs and Rise members have used our ecosystems to innovate at speed: identifying new opportunities, finding partners to collaborate with and testing-and-learning as they go:

  • Revelio in Rise New York has been tracing the jobs within companies that are most at risk of termination, the companies with the highest likelihood of layoffs and furloughs, and which workforces are best positioned for recovery.
  • GeoSpoc and MMS.IND, both Rise Mumbai members, have jointly developed a solution to predict the local impact on supply chains that could help pharmaceutical companies track the demand for vital drugs at pharmacies.
  • ElectronRX, a Cambridge Eagle Lab startup, has developed a solution that allows smartphone sensors to measure blood pressure and oxygen levels. During product development, the company

[1] “Covid19 Crisis Effects on Financial Services”, Ravco Marketing & FSClub Collaborate

was able to benefit from a local electronics expert in the ecosystem and is now working with Edinburgh University, University College London (UCL) and IBM on using the product to identify Covid symptoms.

Watch our video






Support and leadership during recovery

Rise and Eagle Labs continue to provide a range of resources and programmes addressing concerns that have emerged during the pandemic, including weekly virtual events and content that supports startups at each stage of their journey. Articles cover subjects including how to set up a company, understanding IP, raising funding and the value of mentoring. We also dive deeper into selected topics with articles addressing the latest innovation in specific sectors.

In addition, we run programmes and initiatives that are helping entire industries to evolve:

  • LawTech: Together with the Law Society, UCL and numerous law firms we are working to enable the faster adoption of technology in the legal profession.
  • HealthTech: With UCL, we launched the UK’s first Precision Medicine Accelerator to develop personalised disease treatments and prevention. In addition, we worked with CodeBase, Edinburgh University Hospital and UCL to identify innovation initiatives in response to the Covid environment.
  • AgriTech: We’re expanding our Eagle Labs network to the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, providing AgriTech entrepreneurs access to best-in-class resources, including arable fields, fruit polytunnels and livestock to aid the development of new farming technologies.
  • EnergyTech: In collaboration with CodeBase and Opportunity North East, we’re helping to accelerate innovation in the UK energy sector through the development of a curated community that supports both startups and corporates.

Barclays is also one of five UK banks who have signed the FinTech Pledge, a UK Government-backed initiative to support startups as they partner with banks.

We’re also passionate about diversity. Two programmes demonstrate how we are helping to broaden diversity and promote founders from different backgrounds:

  • The Female Founders First Accelerator by Barclays and Techstars recognises that female entrepreneurs are fundamental to creating tech solutions and companies that will shape our future for the better. But female founders continue to be an underrepresented group in the FinTech world. We’re committed to making things fairer for them and addressing the unique challenges they face. The programme runs for six weeks and features female founders from the UK, US, Israel and India.
  • The Barclays Black Founder Accelerator is designed to champion diversity in innovation and entrepreneurship in the Black community. This 12-week, immersive accelerator programme helps 25 Black-founder led early stage tech businesses to grow and scale through a series of masterclasses on product development, sales strategy, operations and leadership development as well as mentorship and professional coaching from scale-up experts.

Ecosystems in numbers

Locations Residents Portfolio
Rise location data at 31 Aug, 2020
Residents and portfolio data at 31 Mar, 2020
3 175+ $1.4bn+

Value of the 180+ Barclays Accelerator alumni


Eagle Labs data to 31 Aug, 2020 25 475+ £983m

All-time funding raised by residents & alumni


Learn more and stay in touch

Find out more about Rise and Eagle Labs.

Learn about the Female Founders First Accelerator and Black Founder Accelerator.

Empower Your Business With Technology

Expertise In Enabling The Remote Workforce Born out of the pandemic response, remote working is now a key area of focus for many businesses, so…

Accelerating Digital

EXPANDING BUSINESS MODELS THROUGH DIGITAL I believe that many traditional industries, and the established businesses that exist therein, will dramatically change and expand their business…

Making the change for business and biodiversity

Continued loss of biodiversity and climate change represents a major risk to economic growth and sustainable livelihoods – transformative and collective action is urgently needed,…

Inspire. Empower. Deliver.

Logistics might not be the core of your business, but a seamless and sustainable supply chain supports you to reach your full potential. That’s where…