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By Sara Castellanos
Barclays PLC and venture-capital firm Anthemis Group are looking for women with ideas for financial-technology startups, hoping some of them can start businesses that can eventually sell the London-based bank new software or other products.
The idea behind the Female Innovators Lab is to connect women entrepreneurs with their first round of venture-capital funding.
The initiative is spearheaded in part by John Stecher, group chief technology officer at Barclays. "In my career, I've seen how having a really diverse leadership team, and varied perspectives in general, leads to better products," said Mr. Stecher, who is also the bank's chief innovation officer.
The organizations will select several women by the first quarter of 2020 to work at Anthemis's New York offices. Once they have a business model, they will be able to move into Barclays's 64,000-square-foot workspace for startups in Manhattan.
Last year, women-founded companies received 2.3% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in the U.S., according to data firm PitchBook Data Inc. About $131 billion was invested across about 8,950 deals in 2018.
Businesses founded by women deliver more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested than those founded by men, according to a 2018 Boston Consulting Group study.
The goal is for participants to ultimately build businesses that will become Barclays vendors, Mr. Stecher said: "We have a number of things we need to accomplish that we don't want to build proprietary."
For example, Barclays is looking for software that could help when onboarding new customers and clients, such as identity validation, he said. The company also is interested in customer-facing software that appeals to specific target-age demographics, such as mobile apps for different banking services.
Barclays and Anthemis will connect participants with mentors within the two organizations to help them build out their ideas and get venture-capital funding.
The founders also will get access to mentorship from a broader network of startups that Barclays has invested in over the past five years.
"Something that can't be discounted when you're an entrepreneur is how little access you have to a wide mentoring network," Mr. Stecher said.
Barclays and Anthemis will select entrepreneurs for the program who have a strong sense of purpose and a high level of conviction around their ideas, said Amy Nauiokas, founder and chief executive of Anthemis, which invests in early-stage financial technology startups.
"It doesn't take rocket science to recognize there's some real opportunity to spend time helping fund, nurture and build up...women's companies," Ms. Nauiokas said, who was a Barclays executive from 2004 to 2008.
Write to Sara Castellanos at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 17, 2019 16:40 ET (20:40 GMT)
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