United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) have partnered in a joint venture (JV) to launch The FinLab, an acceleration programme to promote and accelerate the growth of the best and brightest FinTech start-ups and innovators.
Over the next two years, The FinLab, which is located at BASH, hopes to accelerate the innovation journey of at least 30 startups from the region through a series of programmes over a three-month period. The programme will launch in Q2 2016, with startup ventures expected to have their demo day sometime in Q3 2016.
In addition to startups, The FinLab is also open to all UOB employees, with the aim of fostering innovation within the organisation. UOB claims to be the first Singapore-based bank to maintain an innovation lab of this kind. The JV is targeted at aiding startup ventures focused on creating solutions in the following domains: payments; wealth management; customer experience management; big data analytics; mobile banking; and SME banking.
Janet Young, head of group channels & digitalisation at UOB, said that fintech startup within Southeast Asia will be guided by experts at The FinLab, ranging from software developers to product managers and senior bankers from UOB.
Young elaborated: “The FinLab will bring together Asia’s most promising startups and UOB employees to help transform emerging technologies into what could be the future of financial services. UOB has long believed in nurturing businesses to their full potential.”
She added, “This innovation lab is yet another example of how we can help develop FinTech startups from a very early stage. Likewise, we also want our colleagues to enhance their skills in the field of innovation and encourage them to join the programme.”
The FinLab is one of UOB’s new initiatives aimed at promoting enterprising thinking and digital skillsets within the bank. The last two weeks saw UOB host an innovation workshop and hackathon for more than 150 employees, to enable them to experiment with innovative approaches to business challenges.
Founded in 1935, UOB maintains a global network of more than 500 offices across 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America. Rated among the world’s top banks – Aa1 by Moody’s and AA- by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings respectively – this recent move is in preparation for the coming wave of disruptions that will impact the global financial industry.
Commenting on the launch of the new programme, Dr Alex Lin, of IIPL, said, “We’re excited that UOB is taking the lead as the first bank in Singapore to launch a full-fledged accelerator programme to grow startups in the FinTech space. This partnership is a commitment to incorporate innovation that not only shapes the FinTech landscape in Singapore and Southeast Asia, but also builds a strong pipeline of sustainable FinTech startups in our regional ecosystem.
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