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Catching up with the Labs Accelerator’s fast-paced alumni

August 14, 2017

Catching up with the Labs Accelerator’s fast-paced alumni

Last year, Octopus Labs launched its inaugural accelerator programme, inviting five innovative fintech startups to work with industry experts and Labs’ talented team of developers. Now, six months since it came to an end, we thought we’d check to see what they’ve been up to.


With CityFALCON’s latest equity crowdfunding campaign now over 350% subscribed, it’s fair to say it’s been an overwhelming success. The fintech startup was chosen from a pool of 1,500 applicants to participate in Zurich’s Kickstart Accelerator. The programme will give CityFALCON access to funding from the likes of AXA Winterthur, Coop, Credit Suisse, EY, Migros, PwC Switzerland and UBS.

As a CityFALCON user, you can access personalised financial news by simple voice command. On the business end, Founder and CEO Ruzbeh Bacha stated, “our next target is to be cash flow positive and self-sustainable by mid-next year.” CityFALCON’s philosophy, he said, is that you don’t have to raise tens of millions of pounds to build a sustainable business.


“A bit like having your mum in charge of your money,” wrote the Daily Mirror, identifying Squirrel as one of its ‘top apps for personal finance’. A recent SyndicateRoom crowdfunding campaign secured over £460,000 in funds, with an additional £125,000 via an extended campaign from 70 investors. Among those excited about Squirrel’s potential is BusinessCloud Magazine, which listed Squirrel as one of the UK’s most exciting tech startups.


“We are launching a simplified version of our product very soon,” stated Jose Supico, CEO and Founder of Advicefront, the automated financial advice platform. The new version will be geared around “collecting and organising client data more efficiently, which is a major pain for all IFA firms. The big advantage is that you don't need to plug into any platforms, and you can be up and running in five minutes.”

Leading up to the new product launch, Advicefront has received accolades from FINTECH Circle and WealthInsights. According to Jose, the media praise has been “a great validation that the problem we're solving is very significant. Regulated advice is expensive and complex. Clients still want a human involved when it comes to their life savings, and robo-advisors just don't deliver that.”


Freetrade, a commission-free platform for global investing, raised £1.1m during their second Crowdcube round — 360% higher than expected. This puts their current funding at 1.24 million. The overwhelming response has caused Freetrade to re-shape their thinking about the plan forward and become a directly authorised stockbroker.

Freetrade will release the private beta version of their app later this year. The first invitations to download the app will prioritise Crowdcube investors and people who have referred other users to Freetrade. While the wait for Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation has stretched Freetrade’s timelines a bit, Co-founder and CEO Adam Dodds has made it clear: “It will be worth it!”


“We want to break down the barriers,” Moola CEO and Founder Gemma Godfrey told Simon Taylor on the FinTech Insider podcast. “In finance, there’s quite a lot of unnecessary jargon, a lot of unnecessary paper and plenty of forms to fill out. So, what we’ve done is automate it…we’ve tried to make it as intuitive as possible.”

As large financial institutions start to transform, fintechs like Moola – the investment app aiming to make investing easy and low risk for anyone – find themselves in a very sweet spot. “It’s a marriage made in heaven,” said Gemma. “You’ve got the large corporates with a wealth of data on customers that’s been gathered over decades. And then you have technology companies coming along saying, ‘we could use that data and actually analyse it to tell you more about them.’”