Lab Fellowship 2019 Demo Day

After nine life-changing months, our programme to support innovators pioneering the responsible use of data in finance – Lab Fellowship – culminated in our biggest event of the year: Demo Day!

On 19 September, 100 fintech experts, impact investors, civil society leaders and finance professionals came together to celebrate our 14 Lab Fellows.

Demo Day marked the end of Lab Fellowship 2019, our unique programme to support innovators working with data-driven finance to test and refine their ideas, build purpose-driven business strategies, develop their leadership capabilities, and pioneer the responsible use of data. The event offered Fellows a special opportunity to share the progress they’ve made over the course of the programme and ask for the support they need to take their businesses to the next level.

We were blown away by the support our Fellows received. With the help of a special game (yes, this is the Lab!) guests pledged a record 219 commitments of support on the night in response to the Fellows’ calls to action, including offers of advice, introductions and funding!

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The audience left with a huge dose of inspiration too. Our Fellows showcased a better way to do fintech: one that puts people in control of their data and ensures finance plays a positive role in society. (Find more reactions to the events on Twitter: @thefinancelab #LabFellowship.)

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We’re so excited about the future for our Fellows, their businesses, and the positive role they will play in shaping a financial system that serves people and planet.

Over the course of the Fellowship programme, Fellows have already seen their businesses progress on multiples fronts: two raised over £1m, one secured five new B2B clients, and three are now receiving specialist support from the Financial Conduct Authority. As one Fellow said: “We were already motoring, but demo day has added rocket fuel!”

The full returns of the Fellowship programme are yet to unfold (and we will conduct a full evaluation in 2020), but we are already aware of its significant impact on our Fellows:

“Lab Fellowship is the most progressive programme in the industry. Nowhere else could we find the same level of support and encouragement for cutting our own path through to a solution that challenges the status quo.”

“The Lab has helped me to get to grips with our real purpose, and guided me in what that means for our company’s business model, strategy and systems. Being a Fellow has also helped me in more unexpected ways… I think I’m a more compassionate team member and leader now, and I’ve made friends for life who I will always be able to rely on for mutual support and challenge.”

“I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to learn so much about the implications of data bias and information asymmetry in any other start-up incubator environment! On several occasions now, the Lab has been the place where I have had distinct lightbulb moments in relation to the risks held by our implementation of AI and automation.”

What’s next for Lab Fellowship?

This is just the beginning of the journey for our Fellows – they will now transition to Alumni, which involves continuing to sit at the core of Lab community.

The Lab’s work to realise the opportunities of data-driven finance, while combatting the risks of it exacerbating inequalities of power and wealth, is only just starting too. Over the course of the Fellowship, we’ve learnt a huge amount about how to make ideas for using data for good in finance into a reality – and in 2020 we will work to share these.

We’re at a critical point in the development of data-driven finance. Will you help us build a financial system that uses data for good?

  • Support us to write the Data Ethics Playbook – an open-access online resource offering guidance, tools and case studies of responsible data use in finance.
  • Partner with us to run a data sprint that develops exciting new ideas for how data-driven finance can better serve communities and build a sustainable future that’s fair for everyone

To find out more, please contact our Head of Programmes, Marloes Nicholls at marloes@financeinnovationlab.org.