Lloyds Banking Group has kicked off a programme to find financial technology (fintech) and insurance technology (insurtech) startups, which could lead to investment and commercial experiments with the bank.
At a time when venture capitalists are reducing investments in the fintech sector, big banks could find opportunities that might otherwise be missed.
Lloyds Bank’s Launch Innovation Programme, which is now open for applications, runs for 12 weeks, with fintechs and insurtechs developing their businesses with the bank. They are given access to senior management and subject matter experts, providing insights into working with large financial institutions.
The bank will also select some of the participating startups to take part in commercial experiments, and selected startups will be reviewed by the bank’s fintech investment team.
Kirsty Rutter, fintech investment director at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We recognise that better collaboration with fintechs and insurtechs is key to delivering exceptional service and enhancing our capabilities.
“We are really looking forward to hearing from this year’s applicants and how we might work together to build the bridge between the needs of our business and personal customers, and the fintech community.”
Capital investment is needed, with investment in UK fintech from private equity and venture capitalist firms falling 56% in 2022, according to KPMG. A total of $17.4bn was invested in 2022, compared with $39bn in 2021.
Car-related payments and admin app Caura, which participated in the programme last year, received £4m in funding from Lloyds.
When the investment was announced in January, Lloyds’ first such investment of the year, Sai Lakshmi, CEO and founder at Caura, said: “The cross-pollination of ideas between our respective teams will allow us to deliver an innovative suite of products and services that the market has not seen before to customers ranging from drivers through to vehicle manufacturers.”
In October, Lloyds Banking Group launched a fintech sandbox where fintechs can design and test their applications in the bank’s IT environment.
The Innovation Sandbox, as it is known, will see the bank work with fintechs to improve the digital products and services it offers its customers.
The sandbox is an isolated testing environment that enables fintechs to run programmes or open files without affecting the Lloyds Bank application, system or platform they run on.