(London, England) Barclays Bank has opened a workspace in London where financial technology (fintech) startups can turn their ideas into software to solve real business challenges. Rise London in Shoreditch is the latest in the bank’s Rise network, which has sites in six other cities across the world, including Mumbai, New York and Cape Town.

By working closely with Barclays’ banking experts as well as the bank’s customers, startups can fill gaps in their knowledge and put themselves in the shop window for potential investors and customers.

Barclays received more than 600 applications from fintech startups to join its latest cohort, and the 11 that were chosen started a 15-week programme in January 2017.

Rise London can house a total of about 40 fintech firms.

Barclays CEO Jes Staley said technology is now a core competency for any financial services firm. “Fintech startups are at the front of the technology wave that is changing our industry,” he said.

“Through Rise, we glean important insights, we can actively experiment with emerging technologies, and we can spot early trends and new markets as they form. This allows our employees, customers and clients to do things faster, better and at lower cost.”

Michael Harte, head of innovation at Barclays, said the venue will see fintech startups engage with the bank to invent new applications to solve business challenges. “By matching fintechs with the business challenges that we face as a diversified financial services firm, we drive customer and shareholder value,” he said.

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“For us, the more vibrant we make the fintech community, the greater the value contribution to customers and shareholders, as well as to the financial services sector as a whole.”

Barclays has worked with startup investor and network Techstars on this initiative.

Fintech firms currently taking part include: Alyne, which helps businesses to comply with regulations; Bean, an app for people to track and manage bills and subscriptions; and Flux which sells an app that removes the need for paper receipts.