Hong Leong Bank rolls out HLB Launchpad 2018 for fintechs
By Kiran Kaur Sidhu August 14, 2018
- Incorporated solutions from last year’s startups Kakitangan, Biztory, Capital Bay
- Open to working with more Series A startups with traction and scalability
APPLICATIONS for Hong Leong Bank's (HLB) startup programme are ending on Aug 17. For fintechs wanting a break in the financial services industry, the HLB Launchpad 2018: ACTIVATE provides startups with mentoring and funding opportunities.
Group managing director and CEO of HLB, Domenic Fuda says, "By cultivating the best minds and collaborating with like-minded partners, we are able to transform our organisation faster - from the way we work, the way we empower our communities and business partners and most importantly, the way we serve and engage with our customers."
At the end of the programme, three winners will be selected - one grand prize of RM50,000 (US$12,267) and two runner ups with RM25,000 each (US$6,134). Additionally, the participating startups also stand a chance of receiving up to RM2.5 million (US$613,350) in equity funding from the early-stage startup fund, Cradle.
"The winners will be selected based on team strength, product viability, synergy with HLB, and the degree of innovation and commercial traction," says Fuda.
This is the second year HLB is rolling out the programme following the positive response and impact from the 2017 HLB Launchpad. "In 2017, we had 60 applications of which 18 were invited to pitch and five were eventually picked for the programme.”
The five startups that made it to the 2017 finals were SalesCandy, Kakitangan.com, PropSocial, CapitalBay and Blinkware Technology. Upon completion of the three-month mentorship programme, SalesCandy, an action-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, emerged as the winning team on the final Demo day.
Drawing value from the programme, HLB has incorporated some solutions developed by Capital Bay, Kakitangan and Biztory from the last cohort of the programme.
Capital Bay is described as a multi-bank supply chain finance platform to help corporates optimise working capital and access financing opportunities through real-time technology.
On May 23, 2018, HLB and Capital Bay received The Asian Banker award for The Best Digital Financial Supply Chain Management in Malaysia. The Asian Banker states, "HLB's solution provided the buyer longer payment terms and price discounts from suppliers."
As for Kakitangan and Biztory's respective human resource and accounting solutions, HLB launched its Digital Business Solution Suites on June 27, 2018 aimed at helping SME customers in their operations.
Fuda says, "As a bank with a strong entrepreneurial heritage, HLB has positioned itself in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) segment and has, since our establishment, been committed to catering to the needs of this business community."
While the HLB Launchpad: ACTIVATE focuses on younger seed stage companies, the bank also hopes to work with more mature companies going forward. "We are also open to working with more established Series A fintech or technology startups with commercially viable products, proven market traction and are ready to scale."
Acknowledging that working with startups is the way forward for banks, Fuda says, "The success of the programme is a testament to our belief that working with startups is the way forward. They have taught us to be more agile, nimble and adaptive to current market needs."