HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A group of 10 leading financial institutions and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today launched an Asia-Pacific-wide competitive search for the region’s top financial technology innovators. Selected companies will participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, a 12-week program that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development and gain exposure to top-level financial industry executives. Further information is available at www.fintechinnovationlabapac.com and applications will be accepted between July 1, 2014 and July 31, 2014.
Entrepreneurs 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 – are invited to apply. Senior executives from 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 will select the winning applicants and provide mentoring to entrepreneurs from across Asia-Pacific who attend the program in Hong Kong.
“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,” said Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Accenture’s Asia-Pacific Financial Services practice. “By fostering the development of the next generation of financial technology companies, the Lab will further strengthen Hong Kong’s status as one of the world’s leading financial capitals.”
The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010. The New York Lab’s 18 alumni companies have raised more than $76 million in venture financing after participating in the program; one participant was acquired for $175 million. In 2012, the FinTech Innovation Lab London was launched by Accenture and a dozen major banks in London, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. The majority of the participants in the inaugural program have gone on to sign deals with banks and collectively they have raised $10 million in new financing since participating.
Global investment in fintech ventures has more than tripled from $928 million in 2008 to $2.97 billion in 2013, according to a recent report by Accenture. During the same period, investment in Asia-Pacific fintech ventures has increased nearly fourfold to $104 million in 2013.
How the Lab Works
Through a competitive process, banks will select up to seven startups to participate in the program, which begins at the end of September 2014. In cooperation with the Lab, Cyberport and Airbnb will provide work space and housing to participating entrepreneurs. Chosen entrepreneurs will be mentored for twelve weeks 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 program culminates in December with an Investor Day presentation by participants in front of an audience of financial industry executives and potential investors.
“Financial institutions recognize more clearly than ever the importance of technology innovation but often lack hands-on exposure and engagement with promising ventures,” said Accenture’s Saluja. “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. This program helps close the gap through a proven accelerator program.”
“Innovation is a core value of Bank of China (Hong Kong) and we take great pleasure to be part of this meaningful program that shares the same belief,” said Alex Lee, chief operating officer, Bank of China (Hong Kong). “The FinTech program provides an effective platform for financial technology innovators to better understand our needs, which helps drive banking innovation to transform the customer experience. Financial services companies are the largest buyers of technology-enabled solutions and we are delighted to be at the forefront of innovation.”
“China Construction Bank (Asia) is excited to help lead the way in fintech innovation by being sponsors of the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific,” said Arthur Wong, head of information technology at China Construction Bank (Asia). “We recognize that innovation is the way forward for the industry and it plays a key part in the growth journey of the bank, which is committed to keep on enhancing customer experience and bringing added values to our client.”
“DBS has been on an innovation journey to shape the future of banking,” said Neal Cross, DBS chief innovation officer. “Our support of the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific brings together the ideas and agility of the start-up world and DBS’ network and experience across Asia, as part of our efforts to enhance the customer experience and better engage customers in the digital landscape.”
“The increasing role of technology in financial services, particularly in insurance, is driving the kind of cutting-edge services that our customers in China demand,” said Richard Lee, head of the strategic consulting department of Ping An technology. “The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is an important development in ensuring the industry stays in tune with what customers want and expect.”
“This provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs who are seeking guidance and mentorship from both potential clients and funders,” said Simon Lucocq, head of Asia-Pacific technology and operations at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We are pleased to be a part of a program that fosters innovation that will help the financial services industry across Asia-Pacific.”
“This program creates an opportunity for regional entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and receive the support necessary to make them happen here in Asia,” added Samson Chan, managing director, head of equities technology for Asia-Pacific at Barclays. “We recognize that the leading banks of the future need to be at the forefront of fintech in order to best service our clients.”
"HSBC has been part of the London FinTech program for the past two years and we are honored to be involved with the first program in Hong Kong this year,” said Raymond Cheng, chief operating officer, HSBC Asia-Pacific. “Our involvement brings us into contact with a diverse, innovative group of companies that we can support, mentor and learn from. I believe programs like FinTech are essential for a healthy, thriving and developing financial services market and HSBC is committed to supporting the FinTech Innovation program as it expands into Asia.”
“J.P. Morgan is delighted to be a part of Asia-Pacific’s first FinTech Innovation Lab, an important initiative that we have supported in other regions around the world,” said Alan Goldstein, Asia-Pacific head of technology for J.P. Morgan’s corporate & investment bank. “As Asia continues to emerge as a source of business creativity and innovation, we’re excited to have an opportunity to work with some of the region’s newest entrepreneurs and businesses and help them find their own path to success.”
“Morgan Stanley already participates in The FinTech program globally and we are very happy that Hong Kong is being added. We have a significant technology footprint in Asia and a long history of working with our technology bankers in support of West Coast start-ups. It is very exciting that we can now bring some of those practices into Hong Kong,” said Jim McGill, Asia chief information officer for Morgan Stanley.
“Our clients demand access to state-of-the-art technology platforms so an initiative like the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific not only gives us direct insight into the themes being pursued by technology innovators in the region, but is also an opportunity for UBS to provide hands-on mentoring to the companies which will help shape the industry's future,” said James Kennedy, chief technology officer for UBS in Asia Pacific.
“Cyberport is a creative digital community with a cluster of technology tenants and is committed to facilitating the local economy by nurturing IT industry start-ups and entrepreneurs,” said Herman Lam Heung-yeung, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. “The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific at Cyberport will support the overall growth of the technology startup ecosystem in Asia-Pacific and increase innovation in the financial services industry, so we are excited to be working with Accenture and the consortium of financial services executives to drive this effort.”
“We are excited to see that the FinTech Innovation Lab now has a global footprint with this expansion to Asia-Pacific. The willingness of senior bank executives to mentor the next generation of fintech entrepreneurs speaks to their commitment to supporting innovation and growing tech jobs,” said Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City.
Applications must be submitted by July 31, 2014. Startups selected for the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific will be notified by mid-September 2014. The program will begin at the end of September and conclude with presentations at Investor Day in mid-December. Finalists must reside in Hong Kong for the duration of the program. For more information about the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, visit www.fintechinnovationlabapac.com.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.