Natwest bank will launch new fintech accelerators in four cities across the UK in April, including one in the capital, it announced today.
The bank will launch units in London, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh, supporting up to 80 fintech firms with a "technology team mentor" and access to government contacts.
The six- to 18-month acceleration programmes offer office space and internet access for free, business advice and coaching, as well as "access to the bank’s networks and supply chains", the bank said.
Britain's big banks have launched a wave of fintech accelerators in recent years as they try to stay ahead of competition from other banks of all sizes and the efforts of start-ups backed by technology companies who have previously had less interest into branching into finance.
Barclays, Santander, HSBC and Lloyds are all involved with London fintech accelerators to differing degrees.
Meanwhile, Natwest last week launched an animated chat bot to answer customer queries, going by the name of "Cora", as it tries to keep its operations ahead of the competition.
Dell EMC will also offer advice to firms in the Natwest accelerators, while law firm Pinsent Masons will offer firms legal advice as partners on the project.
Natwest, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, has 12 accelerator locations across the UK, which together can host up to 1,000 people in new businesses.
The fintech accelerator coincides with plans to support 5,000 entrepreneurs across industries with free mentoring and coaching. It will also provide "pre-acceleration" 12-week courses to 50 early-stage start-ups.