Thailand’s Largest Bank Launches International FinTech Accelerator

By
Samburaj Das @sambdas
March 17, 2017

Thailand’s Bangkok Bank has launched its international FinTech accelerator program called Bangkok Bank InnoHub, an intensive 12-week program that will take place in Bangkok.

The country’s largest bank by assets is now accepting applications to its first FinTech accelerator program, launched [PDF] in partnership with innovation incubator and venture capital firm Nest.

Bangkok Bank, which figures among the largest banks in Southeast Asia, is opening the program to FinTech innovators and founders of all nationalities, aged 18 and above. Applications began yesterday and will close on May 10, 2017, before the program commences in June 2017.

The 12-week program will favor applicants development technologies and solutions for payments, electronic know-your-customer (eKYC), machine learning and artificial intelligence. While the bank is issuing a global call for FinTech innovators, the focus lies with solutions directly relevant to the Thai market or applications that could be adopted in the southeast Asian region (ASEAN).

Up to eight early-stage companies will be selected during the program, with founders gaining access to the bank’s resources and Nest’s global network of technology specialists. Startups will gain advice on strategies toward potential pilot projects. As the country’s leading commercial bank, Bangkok Bank could also integrate innovative ideas into new offerings and services to customers, with a bias toward startups that explore FinTech solutions adjacent to the bank’s core processes.

In a statement, Panukorn Chantaraprapab, Executive of Business Investment Department at the bank, said:

For Bangkok Bank, there is potential to adopt new technologies to further the development of innovative services and experiences for our customers, and in partnership with Nest, we will source and select startups that have strong relevance to our business.

Further, the bank’s new venture capital arm, Bualuang Ventures, will also look toward investment opportunities with participating FinTech startups. With a focus on startups and SMEs, the banks’ VC subsidiary will also offer consultation and advisory services for participants of InnoHub for future investment opportunities.

Thailand’s capital will host Bangkok Bank’s FinTech accelerator program for domestic and international participants.

Nest has experience in running similar programs with other banks and corporates in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kenya. The company’s CEO, Lawrence Morgan added:

For the companies selected for this program, our aim is to not long give them access to opportunities domestically in Thailand, but also to create a hub for early-stage companies looking to gain traction in other ASEAN markets, thereby positioning Thailand as a gateway into ASEAN.

FinTech Gains with Blockchain

Thailand is home to a number of a number of notable developments in recent times as businesses and companies, including the country’s national stock exchange, embracing financial technologies.

Kasikornbank, another leading Thai bank based in Bangkok is expected to launch a FinTech payments platform by the end of the year with a focus on faster, easier and low-cost transactions through a digital payments platform.

One expert sees a sweeping adoption of blockchain technology in a multitude of sectors across Thailand by 2018. Earlier this month, the operator of the country’s national stock exchange announced the development of a blockchain-based marketplace for trading among startups and smaller companies. The blockchain marketplace, which will benefit startups to gain access to capital from angel investors and VC funds will launch sometime this year.

Last year, Thai blockchain startup Everex used the Ethereum blockchain to conduct a remittance pilot to enable 100 Myanmar migrant workers to send money to their homeland, cutting down settlement times with significant savings in remittance and currency exchange costs.

Image from Shutterstock.

Tags: thailand
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