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The FinLab Launchpad recently rounded off its regional leg on 12th March 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand before its final session in Singapore. The FinLab Launchpad is an initiative by The FinLab to serve as a platform for like-minded start-ups to come together, network and to better understand the value that its acceleration program in Singapore can bring.

More than 80 people from the ecosystem were gathered at UOB Thailand’s flagship branch in the Robot Building to hear first-hand what The FinLab can offer in order to help them accelerate and grow their business. The FinLab is a corporate FinTech accelerator jointly owned by Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), one of the largest government-linked venture capital firms in Singapore, and United Overseas Bank (UOB), one of Asia’s leading financial institutions. Launched last year in November, The FinLab is slated to kick-start its inaugural acceleration programme in May 2016.

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Lucien Tavano, CEO of OhMyGeorge, a financial trading game simulation that enables users to learn how to trade while playing and one of the start-ups that pitched during the event, found the feedback provided by the panel of mentors useful and appreciated how the feedback was administered to each pitching startup via a feedback board. He further commented "We found the questions asked to each startup particularly spot on. Despite the great variety of subjects (insurance, lending, asset digitalisation, remittance, trading, etc.) the mentors were able to precisely identify and evaluate both the interest of the value proposition behind the different ideas and the challenges awaiting each of the startups in their own specific space."

Companies like OhMyGeorge’s is just one of the many fintech start-ups that have been emerging in the region. According to data from KPMG and CB Insights, investors committed a record US$4.5 billion into fintech start-ups in Asia last year, four times as much as the previous year.

Felix Tan, Managing Director for The FinLab, spoke about how start-up accelerators can play a vital role in helping to propel business ideas during the early stages of one’s entrepreneurship career. “The Finlab's programme is aimed at helping innovative FinTech startups go to market faster, and becoming more robust, more scale-able, and therefore more bankable,” said Felix, who is no stranger to the start-up scene, having founded Singapore’s 1st internet company, SilkRoute Holdings in 1995; and a subsidiary, ECNet, in 1996.

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"The Thai startups' willingness to go up on stage to share and to receive feedback was really very impressive, as were some of the ideas presented," enthused Felix. "This augers well for the future of the FinTech ecosystem, not just in Thailand, but also in Asia.  The Finlab will continue to play an active role here."

Yuttachai Teyarachakul, Head of Personal Financial Services, UOB Thailand, also emphasised how banks and FinTech start-ups can work hand-in-hand to improve the current landscape in banking despite the view that such start-ups are out to disrupt the financial industry. By being part of the start-up ecosystem, banks will be able to stay in-the-know of the latest trends and innovations in this global tech revolution.  Yuttachai said,  “With UOB’s strong regional network, deep expertise, and broad experience in the financial industry, UOB is ready to support startups to help companies refine their business models and connect them to the right networks. On the bigger picture, we believe in the power of collaboration that it will enhance financial processes and improve the banking landscape in the near future.”

To find out more about The FinLab and get updates about its acceleration programme, visit www.thefinlab.com and follow TheFinLab on Facebook and Twitter.

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