Oct 19, 2020

FinTech Scotland teams up with Lloyds for Innovation Lab

Fintech Scotland
Innovation lab
Joanna England
3 min
FinTech Scotland has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group to launch a new fintech programme aimed at improving and creating innovative collaborations
FinTech Scotland has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group to launch a new fintech programme aimed at improving and creating innovative collaborations...

FinTech Scotland has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group to launch a new fintech programme aimed at improving and creating innovative collaborations.

Called the Launch Innovation Lab, the 12-week-long project will work with 12 startup companies, providing support, clinics and sponsorship opportunities. Businesses have until 21 October 21 to submit their application to the scheme. 

The aim of the Launch Innovation Lab is to create new, ready-to-go ideas in partnership with Lloyds. 

Split into parts, the three-month programme will first look at exploring the potential of the dozen fintechs selected for the event. They will work with Lloyds to gauge the banks strategic challenges and vice versa. After the exploration phase, the bank will then assist the companies in developing their proposals. Six companies will be selected from the 12, to continue the programme’s next stage, called the craft phase.

David McLeay, Innovation Product Owner for Lloyds Banking Group, commented on the scheme, saying the programme needs inspiring, industry-shaking innovators to drive Lloyds forward in terms of financial technology. He said; “The market is ripe for disruption in my view. We have an environment where customers’ needs are changing and in parallel, there are a lot of significant new technologies opening up opportunities”

McLeay continued, “Together, we’ll work on a proof of concept framework that explains the hypothesis, how we’re going to measure and test the hypothesis, what the key success factors are, and what a future road map could look like.”

Lloyds is, McLeay explained, looking for start-ups to assist with two main challenges. The first is to help Lloyds determine support solutions for customers with shifting views on Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance themes. 

The second challenge is to mobilise digital tech services to better assist customer finances, while the end of the programme will see the start-ups be part of a Lloyds bank internal showcase and an industry-focused event.

He commented, “Increasingly, we’re seeing customers have an awareness of ESG themes, such as climate change, or diversity on boards. Customers are wondering if their money is being invested in places that do good,” McLeay said.

“We may get to a point where a company’s ESG credentials are actually a primary deciding factor in whether people want to use the product or service.”

“What we want to do is for our incubator to help these companies grow and develop their ideas together with us and work in a sustainable way. And we want to move faster – we’ve learnt we can do things quickly in response to COVID and we want to keep doing that.”

“With this programme, there’s a whole section of activities that are for the fintechs to get something out of Lloyds Banking Group. We’re going to offer classes and surgeries where they can talk to technical architects and cloud infrastructure experts, talk to our risk teams, talk to our finance guys, speak to our design experts, our systems thinkers, our UXers, our corporate finance team – anyone that can help their business develop.

McLeay added: “As a big bank, we have a lot of people in a number of highly specialist roles, and we’re good at a number of big bank functions. However, we accept we’re not as agile, fast and reactive as some of the start-ups at certain things. We want to create an environment where both parties can mutually benefit from the relationship.”

The Lloyds and Launch Innovation Lab will be on the lookout for innovative tech ideas that are usable and scalable, with a view to launching them in 2021. 

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Jun 21, 2021

Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round

2 min
Amber Group has raised $100m in a fresh funding round led by China Renaissance bank, valuing the start-up at $1bn

Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.

The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.

Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”

“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”

Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”


Who is Amber Group?

Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year. 

Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”

Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.

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