Innovation Challenge | how to apply

Applications open for AI Innovation Challenge 2024 

The City of London Corporation and Microsoft are pleased to announce an innovation challenge to accelerate tech development to combat online fraud.  

Fraud impacts businesses and individuals across the globe. The availability of generative artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to increase the scale and sophistication of online fraud cases. One example of this is Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud - which includes purchase scams, online investment schemes, and criminals posing as a contact to trick victims into sending payments. Synthetic identities, images and audio generated using AI are expected to rapidly transform and mature APP fraud, making it harder for businesses to protect themselves and their customers. This combination of advanced generative capabilities and automation creates a growing challenge for financial services’ existing security measures, and risks leading to an increased prevalence of online fraud. For financial services to protect their customers and remain competitive, it is fundamental that the sector has the most innovative solutions at their disposal, helping to safeguard and futureproof their services.  

AI | Innovation Challenge

Apply now

Apply now

The Challenge Use Case

We are calling tech companies to action that can solve this challenge:

How can AI prevent online fraud at the earliest possible stage by identifying and tracking fake identities – including synthetic identities and image or audio deepfakes? 

AI offers a tremendous opportunity for financial services. In fact, the sector is at the vanguard of adoption of AI, with many already using the technology to enhance a variety of applications and services across their business. However, the evolution of generative AI has lowered the barrier to entry for threat actors who are increasingly able to commit online fraud on a larger, more impactful scale. AI-generated fake identities are one method on the rise, with one report suggesting that deepfake incidents increased 700% in fintech in 2023. Similarly, deepfake images and audio risk enhancing and increasing APP fraud, which cost the public £459.7mn in 2023. Partnered with the rapid pace at which AI Innovation is advancing attack methods, it is more important than ever that financial services have the most innovative technological solutions at their disposal to protect their customers and retain their competitive advantage.


Microsoft's Theresa Yurkewich Hoffmann explains why they wanted to get involved, and what benefits participating firms get from working so closely with Microsoft to develop and scale solutions to real world challenges facing the financial and professional services sector.

Haydn Brooks, CEO and Co-founder of Risk Ledger, tells us about how their involvement provided facetime with potential buyers who could give practical advice.

What is the AI Innovation Challenge? 

The AI Innovation Challenge will provide a unique platform for collaboration between financial services (banking, payments, insurance) and technology companies. Participants from tech firms and financial services firms will work together to enhance innovative tech solutions to address a key security priority or “use case” for financial services. 

The innovation challenge will: 

  • Accelerate the development of innovative AI solutions that meet FS and wider industry demand; 
  • Support cross-sector collaboration and information sharing on an Online fraud; and 
  • Provide thought leadership on catalysing online fraud innovation in the UK.  

Over the course of 7 weeks participants work together to address the use case through tech solutions and present the results at the end of the project. A public showcase event at Guildhall will also be held to reflect on the Challenge.  


Mastercard's Peter Allwood tells us why the opportunity to work with, and help, organisations to ensure trust in the digital ecosystem was such an easy choice.

Previous participant Colette Hanley of Checkout tells us more about the benefits of collaborating with law enforcement and tech vendors to share expertise and experience, and the benefits of taking part.

How will the challenge work?  

The participating financial services and tech participants will work together over a 7-week sprint during September - November 2024. During that time, tech companies will have the unique opportunity to gather 1:1 feedback from participants across the financial services sector on their tech solutions, gain market insight and further enhance their tech solutions to address the use case and meet the needs of industry.   

Tech companies will benefit from the insights and expertise of Supporting Partner Microsoft as well as the Department for Business and Trade and London & Partners. The 7-week sprint will be designed as themed weekly 1:1 sessions, with topics to be shared closer to the time.  

Each week, the tech companies will have dedicated collaboration time with selected financial services institutions to explore how their tech solutions address the use case, demonstrate their development and gather feedback.  


Enrico Faccioli, CEO and Co-founder of previous challenge participants, here tells us how the Challenge helps cyber security firms engage directly with FPS companies.

Policy Chair Chris Hayward talks about this year's AI Innovation Challenge, and how it will bring innovative AI companies together with financial and professional services firms.

Am I eligible to apply? 

We are accepting applications from tech companies that meet the below criteria. Applications will be assessed with the help of Supporting Partners.  

Applicants must: 

  • Be a UK-based company or a company looking to enter the UK market. 
  • Have a tech solution whose use of AI is truly innovative and can be differentiated from current market offerings or ways technology is being deployed.  
  • Demonstrate through an existing case study or proposed test case that the applicant has the existence of a developed product that meets the above use case, or existence of a product that can be adapted to meet the use case, that would benefit from industry engagement and further refinement. This case study (or product) does not have to be related to the financial services (banking, payments, insurance) sector.  
  • Explain why they wish to move into the financial services sector and the potential impact or outcome their product could have.  
  • The product should satisfy basic technical requirements including being cloud native, follows cyber security protocols, and has an architectural design that it can integrate with other platforms. Microsoft will provide a programme enablement session(s) for applicants as part of the challenge.    
  • Provide transparency about their product’s limitations and underlying assumptions.  
  • Detail a well-thought-out testing plan that aligns with the sprint timeline, that explains how the product will be validated during the 6-week timeframe, and what further steps will be required to get the product market-ready.  
  • Be able to actively participate and communicate with the participating financial services institutions during the challenge (w/c 23 September to w/c 4 November) and showcase event in mid-November 2024.
  • Commit to the terms of engagement (if selected), as outlined in this PDF.  

How to apply? 

Please complete this Microsoft form.  

Any additional questions about the Challenge can be sent to  

What timeline can I expect? 

  • 25th June applications open until 26th July  
  • w/c 5th August applications are reviewed and successful applicants are notified 
  • Mid-August intro session held with successful techs to meet each other and ask any questions  
  • w/c 23rd September Innovation sprint begins (7-week timeline) 
  • w/c 4th November closing presentations  
  • Early December showcase event at Guildhall

Find out more

AI | Innovation Challenge

AI | Innovation Challenge