KPMG to host connected cities conference at Hong Kong start-up festival

22 January 2019

Big Four professional services firm KPMG will host a smart cities conference as part of this week’s Startmeup Festival in Hong Kong.

While the world’s attention turns to Davos for another year – for some via KPMG’s interactive social media data visualisation platform WEFLIVE – the Asian branch of the Big Four firm will also be taking a part in another conference closer to home; the five-day StartmeupHK Festival in Hong Kong, which runs until the end of the week. Some 8,000 delegates are expected to attend throughout the course of the event.

Organised by the Hong Kong government’s foreign direct investment agency InvestHK, the StartmeupHK Festival for 2019 will focus on key themes in the healthtech, artificial intelligence, financial services, education, and lifestyle & retail technology spaces, along with featuring a full-day Connected Cites Conference on the 24th hosted by KPMG, with a number of the firm’s experts set to speak.

Held in partnership with Siemens and the Wilson Group together with local tech consultancy JOS and the Smart Cities Consortium, the KPMG speaking contingent for the Connected Cities Conference will include Julian Vella, APAC Head of Infrastructure, and Steve Lewis, Associate Director, Infrastructure Advisory of KPMG China, along with local advisory partners Alan Yau and Marcos Chow.KPMG to host connected cities conference at Hong Kong start-up festivalThe agenda for the Connected Cities Conference meanwhile will cover areas such as the future of healthcare, work and buildings, an exploration of urban mobility, the Internet of Things in respect to sustainable cities, and the question of what the personality of a city is. KPMG will also present its survey findings of its connected cities report, and discuss sustainable cities from the perspective of planning, design, construction, and future generations.

Also set to speak, twenty-year KPMG veteran Anson Bailey, APAC Head of Consumer & Retail and Head of Technology for Hong Kong, who said on LinkedIn; “Really looking forward to #StartmeupHK Festival next week here in HK and proud that #KPMGChina is supporting the start-up community along with many more dedicated vertical champions. So lucky we have a great community here in HK and hope to see you at the HKCEC next week!”

In addition to the Connected Cities Conference, KPMG is also a platinum sponsor of the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund’s JUMPSTARTER event on 23rd and 24th, which seeks to connect high-quality tech start-ups with the corporate and investment community, while the firm will also host the ‘Future Digital Strategies at the Retail’s Cutting Edge’ forum and moderate a panel on the ‘Top 50 Innovative Retail Leaders in Hong Kong.’

The latter form part of the StartmeupHK Festival’s ‘Retail’s Cutting Edge’ segment hosted by retail-focused publisher Inside Retail on the 23rd, with OC&C Strategy Consultants’ noted regional expert Pascal Martin among the schedule of speakers, presenting on new retail trends and their implications in Hong Kong. The StartmeupHK festival will serve as a prelude to this year’s Rise event, the largest tech conference in Asia to be held in Hong Kong in early July, with KPMG together with Accenture among the event’s major sponsors.


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Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab applications open for Asia Pacific

08 April 2019

With over half a billion dollars raised by its alumni to date, Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab is back for another round in the Asia-Pacific.

Applications have now opened for the Asia Pacific edition of Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab, a 12-week accelerator programme for promising fintech start-ups which has seen over $1.5 billion raised in venture financing globally for its graduating alumni to date – a third of that for just 41 participating companies in the Asia Pacific. Both early and growth-stage fintechs are eligible to apply, with submission closing in May.

Launched in New York in 2010 before spreading to London and Hong Kong, the FinTech Innovation Lab is described as a collaborative, non-sales environment which brings execs from leading financial institutions together with aspiring fintech start-ups for mentorship, guidance and advice – augmented by a series of workshops and panel discussions covering areas such as procurement, technology architecture, and industry trends.

This year’s principal participating financial institutions include BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse among many more leading names from the banking and investment realm, while Elzio Barreto, Accenture’s Financial Services Media & Analyst Relations Lead for APAC will serve as a mentor alongside experts from Deutsch Bank, Stott Advisory and CBA International among others.Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab applications open for Asia Pacific

“There’s now widespread acceptance that the best way forward for banks and fintech startups is to collaborate where possible, creating big ecosystems that will help unlock huge value for all stakeholders, particularly consumers,” said Piyush Singh, Accenture Managing Director for Financial Services in the Asia Pacific and MENAT, with the firm noting a shift in focus between fintechs and traditional firms over the past 18 months, “from competition to collaboration.”

“We’ve already seen banks, insurers and wealth managers partner with fintechs here in Asia, but the outlook for further collaboration and the resulting value creation is what’s making investors more comfortable to spread their bets more widely,” Singh continues. “That’s a big focus for the Innovation Lab, instigating this sense of partnership between well-established financial firms looking for the next breakthrough technology and nimble startups eager to test their solutions and push them to market.”

With the APAC Innovation Lab now entering its sixth cycle, Accenture also notes the recent global surge in fintech investments, which doubled in 2018 to over $55 billion, led by a wave of funding to mainland China. “The Lab’s geographical proximity to the mainland makes it particularly suitable for Chinese start-ups, especially for those like ours looking to expand abroad,” said Li Hao, co-founder of Chinese unicorn Wecash – which was among the Lab’s first intake in 2014.

For the 2019 edition, senior business and operations executives from the Lab’s participating financial partners will select up to ten applicants to take part in the programme, with fintech entrepreneurs developing cutting-edge products, services and technologies invited to apply. Kicking off in August, the 12-week programme will culminate in an Investor Day where particpants can showcase their technology to finance executives, investors and the media.