Eight leading financial technology (fintech) companies presented their solutions and services to top banking, insurance, venture capital and technology executives today at the fifth annual Accenture (NYSE: ACN) FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific Investor Day, which highlighted the evolution and growth of the industry.
The 12-week mentorship program — a collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions — has experienced strong growth since its inception in 2014, with the number of participating financial institutions more than doubling, to 22 this year from 10 in 2014. The number of applications from startups has also surged, to more than 160 this year from fewer than 100 in 2014.
The 2018 FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific participants were:
• Bereev - a Malaysia-based start-up that developed Asia's first legacy-planning application, helping users organize and prepare their financial, personal and other matters, to help family members in case of their death.
• BetterTradeOff - a Singapore-based start-up whose one-of-a-kind holistic life-planning solution, 'Aardviser,' uses advanced statistical models and AI to empower people to make optimum decisions when financing their dreams.
• Checkbox.ai - a Sydney-based start-up whose award-winning technology platform enables the digital transformation of regulation, policy and business services into easy-to-use business applications in the cloud, letting users — even those without technical training or coding capability — create online software applications.
• Gekko Lab - a Hong Kong-based RegTech startup for financial intelligence and investigation, whose graphical network analytics software and built-in proprietary database enhance users’ capability to detect and manage risks using data analytics.
• Hyper Anna - an Australian startup whose AI-powered virtual data scientist 'Anna' leverages advanced data analytics to handle the tedious and technical work of writing code, analyzing data, producing charts and finding insights.
• Know Your Customer - a Hong Kong- and Ireland-based startup that provides digital solutions to quickly and accurately identify and verify companies and individuals prior to client on-boarding, automating 90 percent of compliance routine tasks.
• NoPassword - a U.S.-based startup that offers the next generation of identity platform, which substitutes passwords with human and hidden multi-factor authentication for enterprise internal and external users.
• Tookitaki - a Singapore-based RegTech whose actionable, fully explainable and auditable machine-learning-based platform empowers financial institutions to create sustainable compliance programs, drastically reduce risk and improve operational efficiency.
“The evolution in the market and of the Lab itself over the last five years shows how promising the future for financial services technology will be in the region,” said Piyush Singh, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads the company’s Financial Services practice in Asia-Pacific and Africa. “Not only have we seen massive growth in the number of applications from startups, each year more and more financial firms have taken part in the program, underscoring the value everyone sees in using digital tools to strengthen their business.”
The Lab’s growth mirrors the rising interest and investments in the fintech sector in Asia Pacific, where funding jumped to US$22.3 billion in the first nine months of 2018, compared with US$6.9 billion in all of 2017, according to Accenture analysis of data from CB Insights. Global fintech investments reached US$40.3 billion over the first nine months of 2018, surpassing last year’s total of US$26.6 billion. The 41 fintech companies that have been selected for FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific since its inception have raised a combined US$457 million since participating in the program.
“Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem has been at the forefront of technological change going back decades, but the last five years really refer to the new era of fintech based on new innovations — which has also been an era of adapting to meet the rapidly changing needs of the market,” said Charles D'Haussy, head of fintech at Invest Hong Kong, the government department in charge of foreign direct investment and a founding member of the Lab. “The FinTech Innovation Lab has helped bring together many different stakeholders in Hong Kong’s financial services community and furthered the development of fintech in the city.”
The principal financial institutions for 2018’s FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific Lab are: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Credit Suisse; Goldman Sachs; HSBC; J.P. Morgan; Macquarie Group; Morgan Stanley; Nomura; Societe Generale; Standard Chartered; Sun Life Financial; and UBS. Associate participating financial institutions are: AIA International Limited; BlackRock; China CITIC Bank International; China Construction Bank (Asia); Citi Hong Kong; Generali; Maybank; Siam Commercial Bank; ZhongAn International; and Zurich Insurance.
Cyberport, which is one of the founding organizations of the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, provided workspace to participating start-ups. It houses the largest fintech community in Hong Kong, providing start-ups a close and dynamic network of like-minded innovators from around the world.
The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modelled on the FinTech Innovation Lab New York, which Accenture co-founded in 2010 with the Partnership Fund for New York City, the US$150 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City. Following the success of that program, Accenture established the FinTech Innovation Lab London in 2012. In 2017, Accenture worked with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to develop a program for FinTech Hive, the first FinTech accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Globally, the FinTech Innovation Labs’ alumni companies have raised US$1.5 billion in venture capital financing after participating in the programs.