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Startup Weekly: EY blockchain challenge, Crowdfunder’s £2.4m funding boost & more

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Here’s your weekly round up of news about startup competitions, awards, co-working spaces, accelerators and any other exciting things happening in the UK tech sector.

EY Startup blockchain challenge

EY’s Startup Challenge is back with a focus on blockchain to find solutions for key industry challenges such as digital rights management and energy trading.

The EY Startup Challenge is a mentorship-driven programme designed to unlock new solutions, helping accelerate the product and business development of disruptive technology startups.

Top tech stats: FinTech M&A activity, blockchain and property investment & more

Six startups will be accepted on to the six week programme and will move into an innovation hub in the office space of a Canary Wharf-based technology accelerator.

Steve Varley, chairman and managing partner, EY UK and Ireland, said: “As one of the most globally integrated professional services networks, we work with some of the world’s largest organisations to help them tackle their most pressing issues.

“The EY Startup Challenge is a hugely important initiative for EY and brings together our people, our clients and other industry professionals to help exciting young startups with their innovative ideas. The EY Startup Challenge helps to develop and refine solutions and builds business relationships that continue well beyond the end of the programme,” he added.

As part of the programme, startups will have access to a range of mentors from EY and its clients.

Applications are now open and will close on 14th August.  The programme ends will end with a showcase on 20th, October 2016 where the startups will demonstrate the solutions they have built.

Santander InnoVentures adds $100m

Santander InnoVentures, the VC arm of Spanish megabank Santander, has secured an additional $100m to FinTech startups.

This adds to the $100m originally allocated to the London-based FinTech venture capital fund, which launched in 2014.

Ana Botín, group executive chairman of Banco Santander, said: “A deeper investment in our FinTech fund represents Santander’s success in investing in disruptive new technologies that will help our transformation towards being the best bank for our customers – in the simple personal and fair way they expect and deserve today.”

An additional £2.4m

Crowdfunder has secured over £2.4m of funding to support a wide range of businesses and individual projects across the UK.

A statement said the crowdfunding platform would also seek to boost community and charity projects and that an additional £1.3m would be added to the funding offer via the platform in the next three months.

Jason Nuttall, head of funding at Crowdfunder, said: “At Crowdfunder we believe in not only enabling people to make their great ideas a reality – but ensuring that they have access to as much support as possible along their journey.

“By distributing funding from partners into crowdfunding projects that have the support of the crowd, partners are not only supporting great ideas, but putting funding into projects that have also been validated by the crowd. The benefits to all are enormous, bringing fund distribution to a new level,” added Nuttall.

Partners distributing funds through the platform include Virgin Media Business which pledged £50,000 to support startups.

Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder, commented: “Council’s, brands and grant makers are enjoying some valuable benefits: they are able to easily identify projects they want to support with pledges.

“Brands are also able to connect with consumers individually, and create great stories, as they help turn ideas into reality. All partners benefit from greater exposure to large-scale audiences and public engagement alongside positive success stories,” he concluded.

Pi Labs demo day

Property Innovation Labs Europe held a demo day earlier this week to showcase the proposition of five different PropTech startups.

The morning featured pitches from the accelerator’s latest cohort:

  • Unihood – a platform for Chinese and other international students to help find and secure accommodation whilst in the UK, as well as a professional student accommodation service.
  • IndustryHub – a sophisticated search engine that enables developers to discover the professionals behind top developments and compile inspiration in an online notebook.
  • Urban Intelligence – retrieving data from all levels of government planning, this system allows developers to identify risks and opportunities of potential projects.
  • Insight Residential – using big data and analytics this system allows every property professional to get ahead of the markets.
  • Office App – linking office workers quickly and simply with the services they need, such as maintenance and even real-time sensor meeting room availability.

Capital One finalists

Capital One has announced the four UK finalists awarded a place on its accelerator programme, Growth Labs.

The programme, launched in partnership with corporate accelerator and investment firm L Marks, aims to help early stage startups to develop new technologies for the financial sector.

The finalists selected to join Capital One Growth Labs are:

  • Credit Kudos – an alternative credit scoring platform that measures credit worthiness using real-time transaction data captured automatically from the borrower.
  • Pariti – a mobile banking app enabling users to take control of their money, reduce interest payments and start saving.
  • Warwick Analytics – a provider of automated predictive analytics that can remove the 80% of time data scientists need to organise and process data prior to analysis.
  • WealRo – a real-time assistant for savings and investing that aims to use AI technology and machine learning to find areas of a user’s budget where savings can be made.

Chris Owen, programme leader of Capital One Growth Labs, said: “Throughout the application process our key objective was not only to diversify our final applicants but to unite some of the most promising technology and finance start-ups. We are incredibly excited to be working alongside all of these companies to help them develop their business strategies and innovate further in the technology space.”

That’s it for now … see you next Friday!

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