Entrepreneur

This Accelerator Is Looking For "Crazy" Ideas That’ll Shake Up The M'sian Fintech Space

The Malaysian fintech scene may be nascent, but now’s also an exciting time to be part of it. Besides having passionate and dedicated players, it’s finally reached a stage where large financial institutions are starting to sit up and take notice its potential.

One of the aforementioned players is Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), and as part of the upcoming Malaysia Tech Week, BNM is hosting MyFintech Week. It is slated to be a week-long festival of events with 4 objectives in mind:

  • To promote growth and diversity in the fintech ecosystem
  • Spur digital transformation of financial institutions
  • Develop fintech for mutual benefit
  • Elevate public acceptance of fintech

In conjunction with this week, 1337 Ventures have been appointed to take their signature Alpha Startups accelerator programme and run a MyFintech Week version.

Who Should Join?

If there are any fintech startups looking to validate and fine-tune business and go-to-market plans, this could be the place to start.

It’s catered catered to startups of all stages, from ideation to seed.

First, 20–25 teams will be selected to join the 1-month bootcamp, where only the top 10 teams will present in MyFintech Week’s Demo Day.

From there, the selected top 3 teams will receive early-stage funding of RM150,000.

The top 3 teams will be guaranteed a spot to join the 6-month long accelerator, but depending on the quality of the intake, 1337 Ventures has told us that they might accept more teams.

Besides that, other perks include:

  • Exclusive packages worth over RM500,000, ranging from US$100,000 worth of cloud credits from Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud
  • Companies will also receive free benefits from payment gateways, marketing tools, and recruitment platforms
  • As part of the partnership, Bank Negara Malaysia will facilitate selected startups through the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox, if necessary

The accelerator is also a culmination of 1337 Venture’s experience after organising 23 batches of their programme.

Bikesh Lakhmichand, the CEO of 1337 Ventures, told us, “This batch would see that most of the programme has been now digitised and the tools used around the 3 focus areas are now all online. Lessons and readings are assigned through a learning management system prior to our face to face sessions to ensure that time is spent productively.”

They’ve also included angel investors from the fintech circle to co-invest with 1337 Ventures, to give the teams a leg up from lessons learned from more established fintech startups.

What To Fix?

The accelerator is looking to solve financial consumers’ pain points in the areas of banking, payments, insurance technology and regulation/supervision technology.

An infograph of some of the pain points they’d like to see addressed.

Besides pointing us to an article where they detailed 20 Malaysian fintech problems, Bikesh also said, “Rather than incremental improvements, we would love to see much more crazy ideas that will shake the foundation of the current space, such as a digital bank, or a new product that is able to create personalised insurance for each individual.”

He also gave us a more general overview of industry-wide pain points that have to be fixed to allow greater growth, which are:

  • Regulatory support to lower the barriers for startups to enter markets. There is a need for relaxed conditions, such as the paid-up capital required, or a constrained environment that fintech startups are provisioned a conditional license to operate.
  • The need for open banking APIs for other fintech companies to leverage and build better experiences around the space. As of now, it’s a challenge for new players to receive access to these APIs, which slows down the enhancement service offerings, improvement of overall customer engagement, and increase revenue from new channels.
  • The need for early stage capital funding that understands the fintech space. As he said, “Fintech is a difficult space. On one hand, FinTech startups would, in most cases, require much more capital to launch well, and on the other hand, early stage funding in Malaysia is lacking.”

Dictionary Time: An API is a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.

Sign Me Up

Anyone who’s interested can head on over to the website to sign up.

We tried to get a bit of a tip of what 1337 Ventures are looking for this round, and Bikesh told us, “The most important thing we look for is the founder. We have a mantra that we repeat: ‘Great people can make bad ideas work, but bad people cannot make good ideas work.'”

“I would say the most important thing for the startups to keep in mind is whether they have the perseverance of running the startup through all the tough times.”

  • You can find out more about MyFintech Week here or read more about the Alpha Startups for MyFintech Week Accelerator Programme here. Applications are now open, and end on April 29.

Feature Image Credit: 1337 Ventures

 

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