Barclays opens tech start-up incubator in Cardiff

Barclays has teamed up with Legal & General to open a new 6,500ft start-up incubator in Cardiff as part of plans to accelerate the growth of the Welsh tech sector.

The banking giant already operates thirteen of these facilities across the country. It decided to bring the Eagle Labs scheme to Cardiff after success in cities such as Salford, London and Edinburgh.

With more than 120 seats and desks on offer at the incubator, Barclays said it will become the home of high growth businesses. It also offers access to maker space facilities, supporting rapid prototyping and product development.

Before launching, the firm explained that occupancy rates were already above 30 per cent. The space houses companies such as Sure Chill and Digital Maverick, as well as the IoT Accelerator Wales.

Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, said its start-up and technology incubators have been a huge success. He commented: “The Barclays Eagle Lab business incubator has been successfully launched in 13 other major cities across the UK.

“Our investment will bring benefits far beyond a shared workspace and much further afield than Cardiff. This new Barclays Eagle Lab in the heart of Cardiff will help Welsh entrepreneurial companies to scale up and accelerate their growth locally and into international markets.

“We recognise the importance of supporting entrepreneurs, start-ups and accelerating high growth companies, and the vital role they play in creating a sustainable, prosperous Welsh economy.”

The space, which is based at Brunel House in central Cardiff, has been designed to support local entrepreneurs, businesses and communities specialising in technology.

Eagle Labs Cardiff is working with RS Components to offer resident entrepreneurs and businesses access to high-tech equipment and development platforms.

Resources include LoRaWAN and Sigfox systems, 3D printers, laser cutting facilities and educational workshops. Customers can utilise the DesignSpark community, too.

Richard Curtin, VP of strategic alliances at RS, said: “We are hugely excited to have formed a partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs. RS wants to inspire the next generation of engineers and encourage inventors and makers to create great things using the latest technology.

“The collaboration with the Eagle Lab in Cardiff means we can support communities directly with both RS products and DesignSpark content and tools.

“We also want to help people realise their inventions quickly through the RS Local innovation centres and being part of this initiative means we are perfectly placed to do that.”

Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General, added: “Investing in start-up businesses lies at the heart of Legal & General’s strategy helping accelerate and grow new companies of the future.

“This joint venture with Barclays based in our office in Cardiff, is another example of how we are actively supporting individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate and expand their digital and technological capability.”

The lab is managed by ecosystem manager Niki Haggerty James and lab engineer Ashley Croome. Barclays said the facility will also act as the Cardiff base for Digital Eagles community activity.