Top 10 fintech innovation labs
Innovation labs are where incumbents and large industry players focus on their most digitally disruptive technologies. Here, in no particular order, we explore 10 of the best.
10 | ING: Katana Labs
ING’s analytics platform ‘Katana Labs’ was created to provide a way for portfolio managers to have access to expertise enabling smarter, better and faster decisions.
Having recognised that significant advantages are available through data analytical software, ING decided to make Katana an accessible gateway to this information. Recognised as one of the most significant innovation tools in 2019, Katana is a testament to ING’s ability and an invaluable tool for ambitious finance workers seeking to achieve the rapid ‘idea’ to ‘implementation’ trajectory.
9 | AXA Next
AXA Next is a comprehensive platform valued for its exceptional functionality, agility and for prioritising business continuity amongst SMEs at all times.
Next’s digital strategy is comprised of several aspects: AXA Labs, a trinity of facilitates in Shanghai, California and London dedicated to identifying new trends and emerging talent; AXA Venture Partners, a €600mn fund for investing in fintech and insurtech projects; Kamet, the company’s startup studio, aiming to provide entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to succeed; AXA Partners to scale innovation; and AXA Global Parametrics, an insurance offering leveraging data analytics.
8 | FinoLab
Calling itself the ‘fintech centre of Tokyo’, FinoLab is committed to creating a financial ecosystem for no smaller purpose than instituting a digital revolution.
Noting that financial services form the bedrock for so many aspects of modern life (mortgages, savings accounts, digital transactions, etc), the ethos of FinoLab has been to foster innovation and creativity in the community in order to make Japan’s sector amongst the best in the world.
The organisation’s ambitious aim is for one ‘unicorn’ (a startup venture with a valuation of $1bn) to emerge from its services and to establish a new standard of fintech excellence.
7 | Citigroup: Global Innovation Labs
Last year, Citigroup celebrated the first decade of its Global Innovation Labs project. However, the seed for financial innovation was sown as late as 1975 with the advent of ATM machines, prompting the company to establish a research centre investigating market trends and consumer expectations.
Cognisant that the amount of digitally-linked devices is increasing exponentially year-on-year, Citi’s approach with its Labs has been to acclimatise clients with the latest technology and help identify ways that it can benefit their business. To attain this level of capability, the company partners with academics, industry leaders and fintechs to gain a holistic picture of the financial market.
6 | Legal & General
When FinTech magazine spoke with Maarten Ectors, CIO at L&G, in our December 2019 issue, he explained that the company’s innovation team was focused on solving ‘Harry Potter’ problems - those which require a ‘magic touch’ in order to solve.
Exemplifying the ‘startup’ mindset that innovation labs are renowned for, L&G maintains a fast and flexible approach to some of the most complex enterprise system problems in the financial services and insurance industries, earning a reputation for its pioneering solutions. Achieving this requires a thorough understanding of the latest technologies and the best ways to implement them, something L&G excels at.
5 | Barclays: Eagle Labs
Part of Barclays’ ongoing mission to develop the UK’s digital presence on the global stage, Eagle Labs is an initiative aimed at driving skills, fostering innovation and encouraging growth.
It achieves this goal by guiding companies through a structured plan centred on digital transformation, as well as providing access to state-of-the-art technologies and advice on the best ways to utilise them. Barclays’ first lab was opened in 2015 and has gone on to be recognised by the wider industry for its innovation, social responsibility and enterprise support.
4 | Visa London Innovation Centre
Visa recently announced the creation of its 1,000 square meter London innovation centre, the largest of the company’s network around the world.
Dedicated to providing an immersive experience for enterprises experiencing complicated business problems, Visa will work closely with participants to find new, never-considered opportunities available to them. The centre has been ergonomically designed to provide a seamlessly digital experience with modern tech staples, such as cloud computing, authentication and security.
Believing that engagement and interaction are the most powerful ways to foster innovation in others, Visa will also allow for real-time experimentation using its Visa Development Platform.
3 | Deutsche Bank Innovation Labs
Deutsche Bank’s concept for its innovation lab is a simple one: provide opportunities for startups by connecting them to key decision makers within its wider organisation.
Taking a careful approach which selects the key emerging tech trends and then intelligently implements them into bespoke solutions for clients, the bank is able to maintain an imaginative, agile and optimised method of working.
The main advantage of Deutsche’s lab is the influence and available resources it can present to a prospective startup, thus shortening the road from ‘idea’ to ‘deployment’ in a way which most other companies could not achieve.
2 | Mastercard Labs
Having started a series of innovation hubs across the world, Mastercard established its first (seventh overall) lab in Africa to provide assistance to the financial sector there.
Helping to drive this concept with Mastercard is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an organisation with which it frequently collaborates. The endeavour is projected to help over 100 millon, with Mastercard uniting its innovation and global financial inclusion capabilities to determine how best to serve customers and create relevant products. The company pledges to demo new ideas, trial approaches for optimisation and then determine how to adequately scale for developed and emerging markets.
Did you know?
Through an $11 million grant over three years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab will generate new ideas with local entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders across Africa, and rapidly move from concept to reality.
1 | Accenture: FinTech Innovation Lab
Run by professional services company Accenture, the FinTech Innovation Lab operates according to a ‘three Cs’ model: connect, collaborate and create. The Lab functions as a point from which startups can make valuable industry connections, increase their company visibility and gain insights into the market from the people who know about it the most.
Located in London, the Lab has so far managed to execute 125 concepts and raised $397mn. The organisation remains steadfast in its dedication to supporting the financial sector and allowing new ideas to flourish.
- 1,500+ jobs created
- $1.1bn raised
- 184 alumni