Whatever happened to…11 startups graduating from Barclays Techstars 2 years ago


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2 years ago I attended the Barclays Techstars graduation day pitch in London. My report from then is here. I was excited and impressed, but knew the stats about startup survival rates. So I thought it would be interesting to do a Whatever happened to… followup post two years later (an eon in startup time).

I put them into 3 categories based on recency of funding as per Crunchbase (if they have it wrong for your company, please update Crunchbase and tell us in comments). Funding is a proxy for traction but only a proxy. If the company is thriving the old fashioned way by customer revenue, please tell us in comments.

Category 1. Never raised money beyond Seed in summer 2014.

They may still be in business. (If you are, please tell us in comments and update Crunchbase). Most probably they are not still in business and the best one can say is that they failed fast, losing little of their own time or their investor’s money.


Crowd estates

Gust Pay 



Category 2. Has not raised money in last 18 months but did raise some money after the summer of 2014.

This is worse (unless Crunchbase is wrong and they are thriving) as it took longer and cost more to get to the same place as Category 1.



Category 3. Has raised money in last 18 months.

These are the ones that may make it through that uber Darwinian process known as creating a high tech startup. Their journey will be a tale worth telling. Even these are on the early stage of this journey – they may have reached Basecamp on their way to Everest Summit. This is hard and takes time.




Hard to Categorise


There is no sign of funding on Crunchbase but other signs of health indicate they may still be around but just keeping funding sources quiet.

It’s a Darwinian Process

So, How was my original analysis?

My three top rated ventures were Aire, Squirrel and Do-Pay. It looks like I may have got one out of three right – Aire is clearly raising money and getting traction.

At the event, Barclays Techstars was talking about their filtering process to get from 340 applicants to 11 that got into the program.

To get a real result for investors and founders means a liquidity event – trade sale or IPO. So even the 3 in Category 3 are only at the start of their journey.

It’s a tough Darwinian process for founders and entrepreneurs, with plenty of excitement along the way. Failing fast and trying again is the mantra for founders; investors have a portfolio so many failed ventures are OK if they get one big winner.  So tales of ventures not making it should not and will not deter those who want to give it a go.

We may see these ideas resurface

Research shows that the single biggest factor in startup success/failure is timing.Many of these maybe great ideas, but the timing was off. We may see these ideas resurface with a different name/team.

Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech & operates the Fintech Genome P2P Knowledge platform.


  1. Thanks for picking that up Jean-Michel! Bernard – we’re doing great. Drop me a line and I’ll happily give you an update.

    Clausematch and Novicap are doing good things as well.

    • Oops, good catch, I will have to discipline my spell checker, sorry

  2. I’m a little concerned you pegged success of these fintechs to “raising capital” which is kind of an oxymoron. You wrote timing is a factor, used a meme stating ability to adapt is a factor and then you wrote “raising capital” as your litmus test.

    Raising capital is not a great indicator of a fintech nor timing – marketplace acceptance and adoption is the only true test of a fintech or any FI, wouldn’t you agree?

    • It is the only proxy for traction that is easily visible. It is a flawed proxy – weak traction gets funded when money is loose and vice versa, but if you know of a better proxy I would love to know about it.

      • I’m sure you’ll find that most of the companies would be happy to have a short chat with you to let you in on their progress. I’m sure most would be happy to get their story out and it’d help you create more detailed/insightful/accurate content.

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