Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab applications open for Asia Pacific

08 April 2019 Consultancy.asia

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.

Beijing and Tokyo emerge as serious tech hub rivals to Silicon Valley

12 April 2019 Consultancy.asia

As Silicon Valley struggles with a number of institutional issues, the location of the world’s top tech-hub may ultimately change – with Beijing and Tokyo emerging as serious contenders according to a survey conducted by KPMG.

Now into its seventh edition, KPMG’s Technology Industry Innovation Survey quizzed over 700 global tech executives on their thoughts on the future industry landscape – revealing that for the first time more than half of the respondents (58 percent) believe Silicon Valley will no longer be the technology innovation center of the world in just four years from now, with Beijing and Tokyo seen as two possible usurpers.

“Many factors affect a city’s perception as an innovation hub, including favorable government policies and incentives, accelerators, tech parks, corporate investment, state-of-the-art infrastructure and, in all cases, at least a few highly successful and wildly popular success stories,” said Peter Laco, an Executive Director at KPMG in Slovakia, of the previous survey.Top contenders for the next world-leading technology innovation hubWhile New York remains the most touted hot-spot among respondents, Beijing and Tokyo landed in the second and third spots as likely contenders for the global tech-hub crown, with seven Asian cities featuring among the top dozen; Shanghai (in equal 5th, but overtaken by Beijing), Taipei (in joint-5th as a notable riser), Singapore and Seoul (at 7th and 8th) and Hong Kong, which rounded out the top dozen. Shenzhen, meanwhile, has dropped outside the top 20.

With access to talent and quality infrastructure remaining key attributes for a successful hub, the report states that, despite all the positive business factors present in Silicon Valley, “an escalating cost of living, questions about diversity and corporate cultures, high business taxes, an overmatched infrastructure, and even increasing scrutiny into data privacy and other business practices are contributing to the perception that Silicon Valley may not continue to dominate.”

Still, the US (which also featured seven cities among the top 20) as a whole is still considered the country expected to produce the most disruptive technologies in the coming years, maintaining its top spot ahead of China despite a narrowing of the gap by two percentage points on last year (to 23 percent against 17 percent). The UK meanwhile has gained some separation on Japan in fourth, while Singapore, South Korea and India appear among the top ten.Countries that show the most promise for disruptive technologyTo gain further insight into the likelihood of a burgeoning tech-hub reaching the peak of the global pecking order, KPMG analysed the results of the survey against a range of other city indices, including A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Global Cities report and Mercer’s Quality of Living rankings – identifying Singapore as the most consistent Asia Pacific performer across the board, with Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong lagging in a variety of areas.

“The belief that Silicon Valley will be displaced as the leading hub underscores the continuing decentralisation of technology innovation, spurred by investment in other cities and regions globally, as well as contributing factors in Silicon Valley,” says Tim Zanni, KPMG’s global technology sector leader. “Even when faced with pressing issues that call for funding, cities and countries are carving out significant investment to become a technology innovation hub due to an expected broad economic impact.”