In recent years, interest in mobile payments, e-commerce and fintech startups in general has increased at an exponential rate. Many established financial institutions, card networks, and mobile network operators (MNOs) are diving head first into this domain. Aside from creating branches dedicated to the development of their own technologies in these fields, many larger companies are pouring funds into financing younger startups.
The decision to finance debt can prove to be financially wise for larger corporations, and can be far more lucrative than dealing with equity. While this trend has enjoyed popularity within the United States for some time now, many U.K. tech companies are being left out or overlooked altogether. Barclays Bank is hoping to spark a change and become the catalyst for an increase in this trend in the U.K. The London based bank is launching a £100 million fund dedicated to the debt-financing of growing U.K. tech startups. Barclays says that firms that have won venture capital backing will be eligible to receive up to £5 million in funds, repayable over three years. This decision came alongside a report from Barclays, stating that U.K. technology businesses are expected to grow four times faster than the GDP in 2015.
Investment plays like this are not only financially beneficial to the investors, but also provide a large resource for startups. Aside from extra funding, many of these partnerships result in tech companies receiving access to exclusive APIs from their investors, and access to the industry knowledge possessed by these well establish entities.
Barclay’s isn’t the only European company making large investments in payments. In response to their strongest annual performance to date in 2014, Visa Europe announced the decision to invest more €200 million in new payments technologies to accelerate the growth of digital payments.
Barclay’s has long since been a pioneer of cutting edge strategies and technologies. A U.K. first, Barclays implemented peer-to-peer and peer-to-business payments capabilities that use twitter handles to send money. The bank has also stayed on the forefront of other social payment strategies, such as beacon technology.