The start-up ecosystem in the UK is vibrant and shows no signs of slowing down. A recent report by Nesta suggests that there are currently 368 incubators and accelerators in the UK alone, supporting over 7,000 businesses each year. London remains a key hub, with over 50% of accelerators based in the capital city. But what support is there for scale-ups who have participated in such programmes, received sound advice and are now scaling? A separate report by The City UK and PwC Strategy& 'Vision for a transformed, world-leading industry' highlights the gap in FinTech scale-up funding.
We are far from reaching the same level of support for later stage companies, who are often ill-equipped to deal with the operational challenges following rapid growth. Some networks, such as Future Fifty provide assistance for scale-ups, but much more support is still needed in order for these types of companies to grow.
From our experience, scale-ups are in need of three key ingredients: access to investors with long term horizons, repeat customers and support to ensure their business is continually prepared for accelerated growth.
Last year, PwC's Digital Private Business team, in partnership with SwiftScale, and separately with Up Ventures, ran three 12 week programmes, connecting over thirty companies with:
- over 150 corporates who were looking for innovative enterprise solutions to introduce into their organisations;
- 90 investors hunting for their next unicorn; and
- 25 industry experts willing to share their experience on topics including sales and marketing, back office support and overseas expansion.
Although the programme structure mirrored that of a typical accelerator, the value proposition and outcomes differed significantly. Ultimately, these programmes seek to address the scale-ups immediate needs and help enterprise companies achieve growth by accelerating their sale cycles.
One year on and we are planning to launch a series of programmes across the UK, one of which, SCALE: FinTech, will focus on supporting revenue generating companies who are shaping the future of financial services. We will be working alongside CO:CUBED and Pine Brook to deliver the 10 week programme which is kicking off in October 2017, and will be based in London, although applications from across the UK and abroad are welcomed.
By running these programmes, we seek to bring innovative financial service solutions to our existing client base who are on the lookout for disruptive technologies whilst, at the same time, deepening our relationships with fast growing companies; the corporates of the future.
Interested in applying to our programme? You can apply here.
Whether you're a founder, corporate, investor, industry expert or just interested, we'd love to hear from you.
Jonathan Hollis is a Manager in the Digital Private Business Team at PwC. He focuses on finding ways to better support fast growing companies, by connecting them to corporates and investors, and working with them as they scale. He has worked with over 20 companies so far and looks forward to advising many more. Having set up his own B2B company whilst studying at the University of Cambridge, he subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC, before moving to his current role. He currently manages PwC's entrepreneurs network in the UK and is a startup mentor to a number of accelerator programmes.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://pwc.blogs.com/fintech/2017/08/scalefintech.html