Eight leading financial technology (fintech) companies today begin a 12-week mentorship program in the third annual FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific. The startups participating in this year’s Lab have developed a range of innovations – from wealth management solutions that are precisely oriented to customers’ investment intents, know your customer (KYC) services that leverage blockchain technology and a fraud prevention program using algorithms based in Chinese-characters to help financial institutions flag risk.
Launched by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) in Hong Kong in June 2014, the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is a collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions. The twelve principle financial institutions are: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Generali, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Maybank, Morgan Stanley, Sun Life Financial and UBS. In addition, supporting banks include: China CITIC Bank International, China Construction Bank (Asia), Macquarie, Nomura, Standard Chartered, Siam Commercial Bank, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG).
The selected startups will receive senior-level mentoring to help them develop and commercialize their innovations and connect with potential customers at top institutions.
“Most financial institutions are grappling with how to become more efficient, cut costs, comply with regulators and simultaneously increase their interaction with customers,” said Jon Allaway, senior managing director, Financial Services at Accenture. “The startups in this year’s Lab offer innovative answers to these problems. With solutions like analytics that make wealth management advice available to more clients, we are seeing how fintech can help institutions deliver better services to their customers.”
The eight companies chosen for the Lab will be mentored by leading financial services executives over 12 weeks through a series of workshops at Cyberport, panel discussions and coaching sessions on product and business-development. At the end of this year’s program, five of the eight participants will be selected to present their concepts to potential investors and financial industry executives.
The 2016 FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific participants are:
ChartIQ – provides securities-specific financial chart and data visualisation products in HTML5. The Charlottesville, Virginia-based startup, which has offices in New York, London, and Cyprus, has more than 125 customers around the world. Its time-series based charting solutions provide charting and data visualization that can help investment banks, brokerages, trading platforms, and financial portals move from legacy technologies to the future of HTML5.
HedgeSPA – is a predictive investment analytics platform that enables investment professionals to tap the internet to improve their performance. With offices in Singapore and California, HedgeSPA applies big data techniques to asset selection. It combines forward-looking market scenarios to reduce portfolio drawdown by as much as 75% and automates day-to-day portfolio management tasks. Users can gain competitive access to cloud-based investment analytics that were previously exclusive and cost prohibitive.
KYC-Chain – uses biometrics, emerging technologies and distributed ledger (blockchain) tech to streamline onboarding processes and provide consensus on identity. This enables front line sales and compliance officers to cost-effectively onboard and continuously interact with retail clients and other financial institutions in a secure, consumer-centric encrypted environment. The Singapore-based company’s platform is live and in production at several banks.
Lattice – has developed portfolio support software for investors, portfolio managers, risk managers and traders. This Hong Kong-based startup’s platform contains a view-driven portfolio optimiser and flexible portfolio analytics to help clarify investors’ rationale for precise and quick decisions and implementation. It helps to discover and precisely manipulate intentional or unintentional exposures, to commodities, currencies, sectors or even countries. Once a genuine investment objective is established, Lattice EPD delivers “one-click” balanced portfolio.
Privé Managers – is a completely integrated and comprehensive wealth and asset management platform powered by a proprietary bionic advisory engine. The Hong Kong-based startup’s platform is already being used by several global financial institutions in Asia and Europe. Its modular-based approach meets the diverse needs of financial intermediaries and advisors to more efficiently grow their assets, while reducing costs through technology solutions.
Seerene – provides insights, actionable analytics and transparency to improve efficiency and streamline costs. Berlin-based, with offices in Hong Kong and New York, Seerene connects to existing data sources within an enterprise, aggregates the information and offers what it calls “an x-ray vision,” viewable on a dashboard. Seerene monitors various dollar-effects of technical debt, digital transformation as well as change across all software stacks, teams and technologies. The aim is to help chief information officers and IT executives improve efficiency and streamline costs.
SIORK – helps financial institutions evaluate customer data and detect criminal activities such as fraud and money laundering in both developed and emerging markets. This Tokyo-based startup, with offices in Taiwan and the U.S. has a product that automatically learns customer behaviors, identifies suspicious events and provides a real-time transaction blocking mechanism to the customer for crime prevention. What makes the product unique is its comprehensive Chinese-character fuzzy matching algorithm with artificial intelligence learning ability that enables global financial institutions to analyze Chinese-character based raw data, such as customer names, and unstructured message information.
TNG Wallet – offers an e-wallet for payment to merchants, person-to-person fund transfer, bank transfers and year-round cash withdrawal. It has more than 300,000 active registered users (about four percent of Hong Kong’s population) with extensive top-up points via convenience stores, ATM terminals, credit card and a variety of online banking platforms. This Hong Kong startup’s e-wallet gives merchants access to an affordable non-cash payment option with low handling fees, improvement in their cash flow through TNG’s fast settlement of transactions with merchants, and a customer relationship management tool that allows merchants to further engage with customers.
The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modelled on a similar program that Accenture co-founded in 2010 with the Partnership Fund for New York City, the US$115 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City (www.pfnyc.org). In 2012, Accenture and a dozen major banks in London launched the FinTech Innovation Lab London, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. In 2014, Accenture launched FinTech Innovation Labs in Asia-Pacific and Dublin, Ireland.
Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised more than US$370 million in financing after participating in the programme. Four companies from the New York FinTech Innovation Lab have been acquired, two in 2015 alone, including Standard Treasury and BillGuard.