Week 11 - Pitching

Monday Speaker Session

An Angel Investment Group had the privilege of being one of the first parties to see the DBS Accelerator founders practice their pitches. Based on this ‘Pre-Pitch’ session, the representatives from the group invited a handful of the startups to pitch their businesses to the wider Angel Association as a whole.

Pitch Training

Nest’s Chief of Investments Jennifer Carver, in her capacity as the head of the Nest Investment Committee has seen her fair share of investment pitches. She went through what constitutes a ‘Minimum Viable Pitch’ and the essential information investors need to know in the first 5 minutes in order to hook their interest. The companies were reminded that everything in a pitch presentation should be  information that the startups already have at hand, and is simply a matter of clarifying the messaging to make it an unmissable opportunity.

Throughout the week, each team began their first ‘dress rehearsal’ presentations with Jennifer and Peter in preparation for Demo Day.

Week 10 - Funding

With Demo Day just around the corner, founders at the Vault are starting to prepare for the conversations that will come up around investments and funding. At such early stages, each of the founders will need to understand what investors are looking for when they invest in angel or seed rounds, as well as how best to structure agreements most to cater for future plans.

Invest HK - Investment Support & HR

On Monday, the startups met with the team from InvestHK to hear about the types of funding and support available to early stage companies in Hong Kong. In addition to funding, the teams will have to be thinking about future hires as their companies continue to grow, which prompted discussion on the legal responsibilities they have as employers. This was practical advice for the founders based in Hong Kong but also a useful lesson in the types of issues overseas founders should be thinking about when they return to their home markets.

KPMG - Funding & Structuring

The DBS Accelerator founders then learned about funding from a more practical and technical point of view from Nest mentor and KPMG’s head of M&A.

NEST - Pitching

Finally, Nest founder and CEO Simon Squibb joined the teams at the Vault to go through how the startups should hook investors in with their pitch presentations. With his extensive experience as a angel investor and pitch judge both in HK and globally, the insights he shared were unique and can help each of the founders gain the funding that they seek.

Funding for the Future

Midweek, Emanuel Breiter joined the cohort and went through the considerations each company would have to take after they raise their first couple rounds of funding. His experience across the entire life cycle of companies from seed to Series C got the founders thinking about their longer term plans and aspirations for their companies.

Thomson Reuters - Big Data

Finally at the end of the week Gautam Verma, Head of Enterprise Capabilities, Thomson Reuters came to discuss Thomson Reuter’s big data enterprise solutions.

Next Bank - Future of Wealth

Instead of the usual Friday Drinks at the Vault, this week the DBS Accelerator cohort welcomed the Next Bank Future of Wealth event at their space. This meetup showed how digital, design, user experience and innovation strategies have removed the need for high-cost and low tech in-person financial advisory. The leading figures in this field in HK who joined the panel discussion included Stepane Dubois (Xignite), Mathias Helleu (8 Securities), and Julian Shillinger (Privé Financial), James McKeogh (KPMG), Dave Wallace (HeathWallace) and David Lynch (DBS).

 

Week 8 - Operations

With the startups currently focusing solidly on building products and demos for DBS, the founders now need to be armed with skills to build a sustainable business entities around the technologies and products that they have developed.

The first speaker this week was James McKeogh, a management consulting partner at KPMG. As a specialist in Data & Analytics, Digital Commerce and Payments, James provided a lot of insight into how companies in this field can sustain growth and manage operations in a way that will enable them to scale.

Later in the week, the teams headed to the newly opened KPMG Insights Lab in Central. Following a tour of the space and its Data and Analytics capabilities, the teams were given Pitch Training by KPMG’s Innovation Partner Edge Zarrella. A regular figure at pitch events and the startup ecosystem both in Hong Kong and globally, his advice to the DBS cohort proved invaluable.

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With only 4 weeks to Demo Day, this talk was a strong incentive for the founders to begin working on their investor decks and start practising for the presentations of their lifetime.

Week 4 - Strategy

31 August 2015

Four weeks in and the programme is heating up. The startups are taking advantage of all the resources that are now available to them and  mapping out what they have to achieve in the eight weeks before Demo Day.

Week four kicked off with a visit from Chief Operating Officer from Nest, Lawrence Morgan, who presented to the entrepreneurs on the principles of strategy. The session included advice on what they need to think about to develop a solid strategy for their business, how to add value to startup that future investors will recognise and also how to evaluate and utilise the existing skill sets within a business so that appropriate new hires can be made.

He also touched upon how to target specific customer markets, a skill that is becoming increasingly important as FinTech moves away from a traditional banking model. 

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As someone who is well-known in the business for his ‘structured logic’ approach Lawrence also gave the entrepreneurs insight into how to approach problems and then make appropriate decisions. 

The week also included time with some of the programme’s invaluable mentors. The group sessions offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to really drill down into niche areas that are pertinent to their business, while one-on-one time allows them to get to know some of Hong Kong’s most influential industry leaders and benefit from the knowledge.

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Week 3 - Lean Concepts

24 August 2015

Working smarter rather than harder, eliminating uncertainty from your business and creating a minimum valuable product should be on the mind of every entrepreneur. This week the 10 startups were joined by Nio Liyanage from StartUpRight.net  who presented to them on how to keep a business lean.

On Friday the startups headed to one of the DBS offices in Island East for a speed dating session with a difference.

David Lynch, Managing Director of DBS HK and Mainland China and senior leaders from within the bank sat in a room to hear pitches by each of the startups on the programme before engaging in a quick-fire speed dating session.

The idea behind the event was to engage employees of DBS and help them to get a better understanding of what the startups in the programme are all about. In addition to being a networking session it was hoped that the leaders from within the business would be given some insight into the most relevant new technologies that might one day come in to change the future of their product or department. It was also a good opportunity for the entrepreneurs to practice and refine their presentation skills in front of a critical but friendly audience.


After the formal proceedings many of the entrepreneurs where able to open up further discussions around collaboration with the DBS employees.

Week 2 – Brand and Communication

17 August 2015, Hong Kong

Week two is where the real work starts. Everyone has met each other and the entrepreneurs are getting a feel for what they have let themselves in for. Six of the ten startups are based outside of Hong Kong so the the ultra-chic Ovolo Southside will be their home and retreat for the duration of the 12-week programme. 

The first few weeks are all about the entrepreneurs getting to know each other and where better for them to catch up than in one of Ovolo’s cool bars, restaurants or outdoor areas overlooking Aberdeen and the South China Sea. While everyone is of course focused on developing and growing their own business, the programme is designed to aid collaboration between the entrepreneur, mentors and also the partners. Who said that this has to happen in an office or in the DBS Vault though? 

Week two of the programme focused on the importance of brand image and why effective communication is the key to developing a business on a both local and global scale. On Monday afternoon the entrepreneurs were joined by Guy Parsonage, the CEO of Fluid, who gave a presentation on how to create positive brand perception and reputation. 

Week 1 - Orientation Week

10 August, 2015

The world of FinTech is a hot topic on everyone’s lips, and no more so than in Hong Kong – one of the world’s leading financial centres. So when DBS announced a programme to support entrepreneurship and find what the future of financial technology might look like, it’s little wonder there was so much interest among the startup community.

This week DBS, in partnership with Nest, introduced the ten startups and entrepreneurs to the wider startup ecosystem that won a place on the bank’s first ever accelerator programme.

Introducing our cohort of 2015!

  • TofuPay - a simple and efficient payment solutions adapted to the specific needs of Asian merchants 
  • Currenxie - A platform to provide P2P forex services to SMEs and corporates; focusing on most liquid and profitable currency pairs
  • Apvera – From Singapore, Apvera leverages adaptive analytics to understand user behaviour and the interactions they have on the company’s network
  • Creditable – The South African micro financing solution connects corporations with financial institutions / banks, to better serve employees
  • Dollar$mart – Delivery of online and mobile international money transfer services for individuals and corporates
  • Monexo - An online marketplace for P2P lending in Asia bringing together lenders with borrowers
  • Fund Innovation - Implementing and maintaining the highest level of automation throughout the entire process for fund administration services
  • Xfers - A payment solution that helps businesses to automate the payment process with an easy-to-use API
  • Closir – A British-founded platform for institutional investors to discover and meet companies in Emerging Markets 
  • SuperFluid Labs – The Kenyan tech firm that offers analytics and product recommendations using alternative forms of data found in emerging markets

After Orientation Day the startups had the opportunity to check out their new home for the next 12 weeks – a purpose-built underground vault in Wanchai. The space is kitted out with everything an entrepreneur could wish for to help build their business, from start-of-the-art Samsung technology through to private filming and conferencing areas.

During the first week the startups visited the Samsung offices to met with key mentors involved in the programme while experts from Amazon came down to the vault to give a presentation about the brand’s unique web services and how the startups could spend their US$100,000 a-year credit that they will receive through the programme. The week’s sessions also included a talk from Professor Po Chi on entrepreneurship and the potential trials that lie ahead for the entrepreneurs.

Week one of the DBS Accelerator powered by Nest was nothing if it wasn’t action packed. It was about everyone getting to know each other and the participants learning about what would be in store for them over the coming 3 months. Keep up to date each week on the programme via this blog.

[Press Release] DBS Hong Kong Kicks Off DBS Accelerator to Shape the Future of Banking

DBS HONG KONG KICKS OFF DBS ACCELERATOR TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF BANKING

5th August 2015, Hong Kong

***

10 FinTech startups from around the world selected for inaugural DBS Accelerator

Hong Kong, 3 August 2015 – FinTech solutions in big data analytics, payments, risk management, security, P2P lending and more are among the innovations from 10 startups from Hong Kong and around the world selected to participate in the inaugural DBS Accelerator programme in Hong Kong, which officially kicked off today.

DBS Accelerator is a collaborative initiative between DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Nest, the leading Hong Kong-based startup incubator and full-service ecosystem, and aims to create opportunities for innovators from across Asia and around the world to shape the future of banking and finance. The intensive accelerator programme is housed in “The Vault”, a newly renovated and state-of-the-art 5,000-square foot workspace in the heart of Wan Chai, and the participating startups will have access to vast resources and mentor support.

The 10 startups taking part in this year’s DBS Accelerator are Tofu Pay, Currenxie, Apvera, Creditable, Dollar$mart, Monexo, Fund Innovation, Xfers, Closir and Super Fluid. They were selected from a wide range of applicants and will be guided through their business growth and development with the help of business mentoring from DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Nest senior executives as well as other partners. Each participant will refine their business model under the accelerator programme, which concludes with DBS and Nest Demo Days and a Public Investor Demo Day, where their ideas can find support to further scale up.

DBS Bank (Hong Kong)’s Managing Director, Head of Technology & Operations, Hong Kong & Mainland China, David Lynch, said, “DBS Hong Kong is very proud to be launching the inaugural DBS Accelerator programme for FinTech startups. As technology advances and customer expectations evolve, our work with FinTech startups will allow us to further drive innovation and shape the future of banking.”

Nest CEO Simon Squibb said, “Through this programme, DBS has become one of Asia’s leading players in the evolution of the finance industry. This FinTech accelerator will enable DBS to remain ahead of the game and, instead of being threatened by technology and ideas from nimble startups, embrace innovation to give them a competitive edge. At Nest, we are proud that Asia’s most prominent and successful corporates are now working side by side with companies that are likely to revolutionise the future.”

DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited has and continues to invest considerable resources to drive innovation and digital banking, with many notable examples of first-in-market and award-winning initiatives to effectively realise a seamless and joyful customer experience. Among them is the DBS Loan Centre mobile application, a first-in-town innovation that enables the entire loan application process to be completed within one minute using a smartphone virtually anywhere and at any time for a truly breakthrough banking experience. The first-in-market ec-Loan mobile application was also recently launched to enable our SME Relationship Managers to efficiently conduct the in-principle loan approval during the client meeting, which is a first in Hong Kong. Under the iPad-enabled ec-Loan mobile application, the credit scorecard of the ec-Loan programme is converted into a mobile application, transforming the traditional paper-based approval process into a real-time digital one. As a result, Relationship Managers are able to provide an in-principle loan offer within one hour, instead of 4-5 days via the traditional approach.

DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited is also promoting an innovative and digital mindset among employees. The bank successfully piloted its first Greater China hackathon, with participation from about 75 talented employees from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

The Vault: New startup space to support Hong Kong as a Fintech hub

The Vault: Dedicated state-of-the-art 5,000-square foot workspace in Wan Chai to springboard FinTech startups with mentoring and support

Hong Kong, 24 June 2015 – Following the recent call for applications for the inaugural DBS Accelerator programme to identify and nurture the next wave of FinTech innovators and innovation, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited today officially launched “The Vault”, a FinTech startup hub in the heart of Hong Kong. The newly renovated and state-of-the-art 5,000-square foot workspace in Wan Chai is the first of its kind for the bank and will provide DBS Accelerator startup participants with work and office space, vast resources and mentor support. The response from startups has been very positive, with applications coming in from all corners of the globe so far. There is just one week remaining before the 1 July deadline for applications via www.DBS-accelerator.com.

The opening of the dedicated workspace comes at an important time in the financial services sector in Hong Kong, with research indicating that investment in financial services technology worldwide tripled to more than US$12 billion last year compared to 2013.

The Honourable Nicholas Yang, Innovation and Technology Advisor to the Chief Executive and Member of the Executive Council, said, “Innovation and technology are drivers of economic growth in Hong Kong and the key to enhancing the competitiveness of our industries, and improving the quality of life of Hong Kong people. In its position as the super-connector between China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong can become a regional leader in a knowledge-based economy.”

DBS Bank (Hong Kong) CEO Sebastian Paredes said, “DBS Hong Kong is a pioneer in leveraging digital and mobile technologies in our financial products and services. The DBS Accelerator programme aims to nurture a new generation of digital leaders and talent to secure Hong Kong’s future as a world-class FinTech hub.”

Nest CEO Simon Squibb said, “This city is uniquely positioned to help FinTech companies succeed and bring innovation to Asia. There is a lot of brainpower in this city that needs seed capital to support innovation and there are a lot of entrepreneurs here willing to invest time to build great companies. DBS Hong Kong is a great partner in taking the first step to make this vision a reality.”

DBS Accelerator is designed to help innovators from across Asia and around the world realise the transformative power of FinTech-focused disruptive technology to ignite possibilities and create an impact beyond banking. The startup participants will be guided through their business growth and development with the help of business mentoring from DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Nest senior executives as well as other partners. Each participant will refine their business model under the accelerator programme, which concludes with DBS and Nest Demo Days and a Public Investor Demo Day, where their ideas can find support to further scale up.

Applications are available via www.DBS-accelerator.com until 12 midnight on 1 July 2015. The programme commences in early August 2015 in Hong Kong, and concludes with the Demo Days, scheduled from 5 November 2015.

DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited has and continues to invest considerable resources to drive innovation and digital banking, with many notable examples of first-in-market and award-winning initiatives to effectively realise a seamless and joyful customer experience. Among them is the DBS Loan Centre mobile application, a first-in-town innovation that enables the entire loan application process to be completed within one minute using a smartphone virtually anywhere and at any time for a truly breakthrough banking experience. The first-in-market ec-Loan mobile application was also recently launched to enable our SME Relationship Managers to efficiently conduct the in-principle loan approval during the client meeting, which is a first in Hong Kong. Under the iPad-enabled ec-Loan mobile application, the credit scorecard of the ec-Loan programme is converted into a mobile application, transforming the traditional paper-based approval process into a real-time digital one. As a result, Relationship Managers are able to provide an in-principle loan offer within one hour, instead of 4-5 days via the traditional approach.

DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited is also promoting an innovative and digital mindset among employees. The bank successfully piloted its first Greater China hackathon, with participation from about 75 talented employees from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

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