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HK start-ups to be trained by leading financial firms

According to a recent press release, eight leading fintech companies have been selected for the sixth annual FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, a 12-week mentorship program created by a multinational professional services company.

This year’s program set a record for applications, with submissions from more than 170 companies. The tremendous interest underscores expectations of growing demand from financial services firms for digital solutions to streamline their businesses, keep costs in check, and launch innovative products to boost their bottom line.

Leveraging AI, RegTech, blockchain and other technologies, the eight selected start-ups have developed innovations addressing financial education and planning, corporate banking and other key areas.

The solutions are designed to help financial institutions address a variety of challenges, from keeping up with compliance requirements and analysing large volumes of structured and unstructured data to building more-personalized customer products and services.

A Senior Managing Director, Asia-Pacific and Africa and regional program sponsor for the Lab, stated that the program is going from strength to strength, as demonstrated by the record number of applicants this year.

The program gives start-ups the opportunity to fine-tune their business plans and services while enabling participating financial institutions to get a glimpse of innovations that will shape the industry for years to come.

Five of the eight start-ups selected are from Hong Kong and one is from Shenzhen, a sign of the growing importance of the so-called Greater Bay Area in southern China as a mecca for technology and finance.

It was noted that leading Chinese companies, start-ups and more established institutions are exploring new ideas and spurring continuous innovation to stay ahead of the game, which is building a more robust fintech ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area. The region can serve as a significant catalyst for growth and innovation going forward.

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is a collaboration between the multinational professional services company and leading financial institutions.

The Lab will partner the fintech start-ups with senior executives from the financial institutions, as well as with technology entrepreneurs and industry experts, to help the companies fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies through a series of one-on-one meetings and user-group sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities, helping them connect with potential customers at top institutions.

Cyberport, one of the Lab’s founding partners, will provide workspace to participating start-ups. It houses the largest fintech community in Hong Kong, with 350 companies, offering start-ups funding, incubation programs and a dynamic network of like-minded innovators from around the world.

The Lab culminates in November with selected participants presenting at Demo Day in front of an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives.

Launched in Hong Kong in June 2014, the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific has received nearly 800 applications since its inception, with 41 companies participating to date. Alumni companies from the Lab have raised US$520 million after participating in the program.

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modelled on similar programs that Accenture co-founded in New York and London in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised a total of about US$1.9 billion in venture financing after participating in the program.

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