Accenture and a group of 10 leading financial institutions-Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China (Hong Kong), Barclays, China Construction Bank (Asia), DBS, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Ping An and UBS-launched on Wednesday (June 11, 2014) what they referred to as "an Asia-Pacific-wide competition search for the region's top financial technology innovators."
In a statement issued on Wednesday, they said that they are now looking for the region's most promising "entrepreneurs [currently] developing potentially game-changing technologies for financial services-particularly in the areas of Big Data and analytics, mobile and wireless payments, risk management, security, compliance, and social media and collaboration technologies."
Entrepreneurs who fit that description are invited to make their way to www.fintechinnovationlabapac.com and file their applications between July 1 and July 31 this year. Senior executives from all the banks involved will then evaluate and choose up to seven winning applicants, who get to join the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific-"a 12-week programme that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development and gain exposure to top-level financial industry executives."
The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is scheduled to start at the end of September 2014 and end in December. During the 12-week period, the chosen entrepreneurs will be "mentored by leading financial services industry executives who will help them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies through a series of workshops, panel discussions, user-group sessions, networking opportunities, one-on-one meetings and presentations," the organisers said. The programme concludes with "an Investor Day presentation by participants in front of an audience of financial industry executives and potential investors."
According to Sushil Saluja, Senior Managing Director of Accenture's Asia-Pacific Financial Services practice, the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific offers up significant benefits to all parties involved. "Financial institutions recognise more clearly than ever the importance of technology innovation but often lack hands-on exposure and engagement with promising ventures. On the other hand, startups often lack the resources and capital to endure the typical two-to-three year sales cycle for selling solutions to financial institutions," he said. "This programme helps close the gap through a proven accelerator programme."
Saluja also commented on how running the programme from out of Hong Kong is not only fitting but would also help it maintain its position as a global financial centre. "Hong Kong's role as a regional hub for the banking industry and the gateway for China investment made it an ideal location to launch our new Asia-Pacific lab," he said. "By fostering the development of the next generation of financial technologies, the Lab will further strengthen Hong Kong's status as one of the world's leading financial capitals."