Malaysia-based 1337 Ventures has struck a partnership with Maybank to find top FinTech startup talent from around the region. Applications are now open until May 29.
The initiative will start with a roadshow spanning four cities in April and culminate in a three-day idea validation bootcamp in Kuala Lumpur in June, with the potential for further engagement from both Maybank and 1337 Accelerator.
“Maybank has got this new division called the Innovation Centre. What’s interesting is that the entire team is made out of non-bankers — consultants from firms like Accenture and others. They are tasked with finding new innovative solutions for the bank,” Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO, 1337 Ventures told e27.
“They decided to think out of the box rather than build everything with resources always tied up. Could they leverage existing solutions out there that caters towards their needs? They decided to figure out internally what are their pain points, and then came out with seven tenants that they want to improve in,” he added.
Rather than going straight to more developed regional markets like Hong Kong and Singapore, the partnership will focus on emerging markets like Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. These markets are already struggling — and thus building solutions — with payment gateways and other FinTech issues.
1337 and Maybank will welcome even early-stage startups without a product yet in the market. The top 20 will be selected to take part, and applications are welcome from startups even outside the four earmarked roadshow locations.
“Southeast Asia is a developing market, and the biggest issues you find from nations that have huge populations like Indonesia is always on the banking, transactions and payments. I think it would be great if the locals in this region can figure out how to solve their own pain points,” Lakhmichand said.
“This is going to be huge, especially in the FinTech space. From cryptocurrencies right up to figuring out how to do cardless transactions using mobile devices. If you look at the adoption of mobile, this region is already mobile first. People go to their mobiles before their desktops. It’s a perfect place to innovate, and financial technology is the best thing to start with because it’s a pain point that addresses everyone right now,” he added.
1337 Ventures also just completed its first five-day Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme in Singapore, which had previously only been available in Kuala Lumpur. The programme included partners from Amazon Web Services, Paypal and Google.