OpenFin challenge

Financial Desktop Innovation Contest


Contest postponed due to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Given the global impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Barclays and OpenFin have decided to postpone this years contest to a later date, TBC.

Further details will be published on this page in due course, and will also be published across our Rise social media channels.

Barclays and OpenFin are committed to supporting all types of companies – from growing startups to established businesses that are shaping the future of financial services.

Rise, created by Barclays, a global network of cutting-edge FinTech workspaces, and OpenFin, the operating system that powers financial desktops, are partnering to support the next generation of Corporate Investment Banking FinTech companies. The partnership will combine the benefits of the OpenFin Operating System and the Rise ecosystem to find efficiencies for businesses and drive the financial services industry forward.

The Competition

Barclays and OpenFin are offering a unique opportunity to win a £20,000 cash prize that could take your business to the next level. We are seeking the best technology companies based in EU/UK, focused on building the next generation of financial desktop applications to join the competition. Your solution should align to one of our challenge areas set out below and eligibility criteria applies.

Do you think your company has what it takes to win? We welcome you to apply.


Financial Services is incredibly diversified ranging from Corporate and Investment Banking and Global Markets to Asset & Wealth Management. Financial firms face many unique challenges and opportunities in today’s economic environment. An important asset to any firm is its employees and customers many of whom use computers each day.

We have set out key challenge areas to find desktop applications and associated services solutions that can solve problems or deliver innovation to users. Applications and solutions that can help solve any of the challenge areas can be generic in nature applicable to any user or specialised and focussed in a particular area (e.g. an operations user in wealth management, a compliance officer within investment banking etc).

We encourage application providers covering one or all functional verticals including Front, Middle and Back Office, Compliance, Risk and Finance to participate in the competition.

Challenge Area


Data Insights and Information Discovery

In a world of ever-growing structured and unstructured data amid a myriad of applications.

  • How can users ensure they are finding the right information? 
  • What are the search engines and tools that can be leveraged to surface relevant insights to users? 
  • How can that data be consumed and visualised by users?

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Communication and collaboration are imperative across internal/external teams and end clients. Email and instant messaging are essential.

  • What does the next generation of these tools look like? 
  • How do we adapt to a changing flexible workforce with geographic dispersal? 
  • Users have different preferences for communication, how do we normalise channels? 
  • How do we optimally share documents for secure collaboration?

Productivity and Employee Happiness

Across the industry we strive for the best level of productivity, central to this is equipping our employees with the right tools, training and information.

  • What additional tools can we provide to employees to help them in their role? 
  • How do we ensure employees are engaged and happy? 
  • What are the solutions for the tasks that have failed to be automated and are now causing residual inefficiencies? 
  • How do we identify and solve these residual inefficiencies that to date have been too costly to fix?

Client Success

At the heart of every organisation is a drive to deliver the best experience to our customers.

  • What are the tools that can facilitate us getting closer to clients? 
  • How can organisations be more informed about what their customers want? 
  • How do we give clients transparency into the organisation servicing them?

Demo Day

All applications will be assessed and the top five submissions will be invited to participate in a Demo Day showcase, held at Rise London, date TBC. An audience of industry representatives and innovators will hear pitches from the top five selected companies, followed by a networking session. A judging panel will be present and the best pitch will be announced following the presentations.


The winning FinTech company will be eligible for six free months of an OpenFin Enterprise Edition license as well as awarded £20,000* (conditions apply, please see participant terms and conditions). The four finalist FinTech companies will be eligible for six free months of an OpenFin Enterprise Edition license.

Who is eligible to enter?

Your business:

Stage:              Post-seed, revenue producing, receive less than £100 million in total financing to date, and have an annual turnover of less than £50 million

Residence:     EU / UK


Your Solution will be:

  • Relevant to: 
    • the Banking sector including Corporate Bank, Capital Markets, Prime Brokerage, Investment Banking (M&A), Asset and Wealth Management 
    • any corporate area of Capital Markets (Front Office, Compliance, Risk, Operations, etc.)
  • A desktop-based application (web application or installed desktop app) or an application that generates insights via chatbots, alert or notification engines 
  • Production ready 
  • Firms coming from API/back end service looking to move to UI 
  • Note: Existing customers of OpenFin can take part if they are building a new app that hasn't yet been exposed to the OpenFin environment

Competition Process Timeline:

Applications open:

Application deadline:

Shortlist date:

Demo Day:





How to apply:

Send your pitch deck and information to innovationchallenges@barclays.com. Remember to include the following information:

About your company:

  • Name: Company’s legal name, country of residence, and year founded 
  • Website URL 
  • Pitch description of your company’s product and services in PDF format (maximum 5 pages) explaining your offering and why it is relevant to this competition and applicable to the challenge categories (please include; technology stack description, company financials, 2018 revenue, 2019 YTD revenue, number of employees, etc.) -
  • Stage of company: please confirm you are post-seed, revenue producing, receive less than £100 million in total financing to date and have an annual turnover of less than £50 million 
  • Please indicate which areas of innovation listed in the ‘Challenges’ section are addressed by your product

About the founder(s):

  • Names, titles and links to biographies (or LinkedIn profiles) of senior team members 

About your clients:

  • Notable clients in the financial services industry who are actively using your product and/or services

We look forward to receiving a diverse mix of applications from companies that are transforming the financial services industry.

About Rise, created by Barclays

At Barclays, innovation is at the heart of what we do and how we think. By fostering a culture of innovation, we are helping shape the future of financial services to make a positive difference for our customers, clients and the societies in which we operate, and for Barclays as a whole. Established in 2015, Rise, created by Barclays, is a global network of cutting-edge workspaces based in the main FinTech hubs of the world.

Rise is an exclusive place where FinTech startups and scale-ups can connect, create and scale together with Barclays. Companies can apply to make Rise their home and, as a member, receive unparalleled access to mentorship, insights, guidance, events, and world-class facilities to accelerate their businesses. Today, there are more than 150 FinTech companies based at Rise, with a virtual community of over 7,500 members.

Rise is also home to the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, an intensive 13-week programme designed to fast-track the next generation of FinTech businesses, while also bringing innovation and application opportunities to Barclays. With help from Barclays, Techstars, and a team of high-level mentors, participating companies aim to evolve their business propositions and solve problems at the cutting edge of FinTech. With more than 170 alumni companies and 17 programmes completed to date, the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is one of the largest single-bank-powered portfolios globally, with a current portfolio valuation of over $1.1 billion.

About OpenFin

Move Fast. Break Nothing. OpenFin is the financial industry’s operating system, enabling rapid and secure deployment, native experience and desktop interoperability. Used by the largest industry players through to the newest of FinTech innovators, OpenFin deploys more than 1,000 desktop applications to more than 1500 buy-side and sell-side firms.

OpenFin investors include Bain Capital Ventures, Barclays, DRW Venture Capital, HSBC, CME Ventures, J.P. Morgan, NYCA Partners, and Pivot Investment Partners among others. The company is based in New York with offices in London.

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