Maybank Group to tap startups to boost innovation

  • 4-country Ignite roadshow to pick 20 startups for bootcamp
  • Offers its 22mil customers as pilot, partners 1337 Ventures

IN a clear sign that more corporates are seeing value in the innovation that can come out from startups, one of the largest banks in South-East Asia, Maybank Bhd, is sponsoring a four-country roadshow dubbed ‘Ignite.’
From the roadshow, 20 startups will be chosen and flown into Kuala Lumpur (KL) with all expenses paid, to participate in a 72-hour fintech (financial services technology) idea validation bootcamp run by 1337 Ventures Alpha Startups.

Each leg of the roadshow will be one day long and open to all startups, not just those already focusing on the fintech space. It kicks off on April 13 in KL before hitting Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok.
Startups will have one month after the roadshow to submit their ideas, from which the final 20 will be chosen. Details are all in the Ignite website.
However, there will be no financial incentives for the startups. Instead, Maybank is dangling the carrot of its 22 million customers from the 10 countries in the Association of South-East Nations (Asean) bloc, and essentially asking, “What can you build for us that will allow us to serve and anticipate the needs of our customers, better, faster.”
For many startups, the prize of a regional pilot customer is priceless in itself.
Maybank Group to tap startups to boost innovation Maybank is keeping the focus open with seven broad themes (see chart below), ranging from sales effectiveness to channels, with the idea of attracting as many startups as possible to ‘ideate’ and come up with innovative solutions.
“It’s an experiment for us and there are really no hard expectations,” says Amran Hassan (pic), head of Corporate Development & Innovation at Maybank.
At the end of the Demo Day, Maybank will decide if it likes any of the solutions that come out – and there is a chance it may not like any.
But if it does, the idea is to then fly those teams back to KL at some point to take part in a four-month accelerator run by 1337 Ventures.
“When we were planning this, we had no idea who to approach and how to do this, but then we got hooked up with Bikesh Lakhmichand, the founder of 1337 Ventures,” says Amran.
“We started talking to them about this and participated in some of their events. Through this, we realised they knew what they were doing, and so they will be running the four-country Ignite roadshow for us, including the idea validation bootcamp that will happen in KL from June 13-16.
“Maybank is excited to be running this event. We want to be a central member of the fintech community in the region, to help grow and support entrepreneurs, by providing them with a platform to connect directly with the financial industry,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Bikesh says, “Once the 20 startups have been identified, the idea validation bootcamp is for us to then test their chops to see if they can execute.”
“They may have fantastic ideas, but our bootcamp will then drill into their ability to come up with a marketing strategy, product feature sets, and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product),” he adds.

Maybank Group to tap startups to boost innovation

On the 1337 Ventures side, it will pick five startups from this group of 20 and put them into its accelerator. It all depends on the founders’ ability to impress Bikesh (pic above) and his team.
“The ones we pick are independent of Maybank liking them. If we like the teams, we could have them pivot to something else,” says Bikesh, also a Digital News Asia Digerati50.
Clearly, there is more than one incentive for startups in the four countries to head on down to the incoming roadshows that will hit their cities next month. Maybank expects more countries will be added to Ignite next year.

Maybank Group to tap startups to boost innovation

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