Visa selects 5 startups across APAC for accelerator program
Leading digital payments company Visa has selected five startups to be a part of the inaugural Visa Accelerator Program in Asia Pacific.
Over the next four to six months, the chosen startups will focus on creating defined commercial opportunities to collaborate on new payment solutions with Visa and its extensive network of bank and merchant partners.
A key goal for Visa’s accelerator program is to support startups that have launched successful solutions in their own home markets as they plan their next stage of growth.
While the program received hundreds of startups “with outstanding ideas for new and enhanced commercial experience”, the five participants selected were the ones that really stood out, according to Chris Clark, regional president, Asia Pacific, Visa. "We're excited to work with each of the startups in our first cohort to bring their concepts to life and expand their businesses into new markets across the region."
The startups will work on fintech opportunities
The five startups have been tasked with working on some of the most pressing financial and technological opportunities that are happening in Asia Pacific. The startups include:
- Brankas This Jakarta-headquartered fintech is an open banking technology provider offering financial software and solutions for financial institutions and fintechs in Southeast Asia. Brankas will leverage the open banking and open data environment to create new payment and data-led experiences.
- Open A neo-banking platform for small and medium businesses founded in Bangalore in 2017, Open will find new ways to support small businesses in managing and streamlining their operations digitally as they adapt to changing technology demands
- Curlec A subscription management platform founded in 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Curlec enables businesses to collect recurring payments easily and take control of their cash flow. They will develop innovative new ways to pay and be paid digitally to help drive financial inclusion for many more consumers and businesses.
- DigitSecure An omnichannel payments acceptance platform for business of all types and sizes, DigitSecure will discover new and original ways to support small businesses in managing and streamlining their operations.
- ModusBox A global open-source platform for real-time payments that will develop new ways to pay and be paid digitally to help drive financial inclusion for more consumders and businesses. Perfect for this startup with a history of social impact, working with governments, credit unions and telecoms across Southeast Asia.
What is the Visa Accelerator Program?
The Visa Accelerator Program, which is part of Visa's broader set of platforms and activities for the startup community in Asia Pacific, is designed for entrepreneurs to quickly test and validate partnership opportunities through an accelerated Proof of Concept (POC) over the course of 4-6 months.
Unlike traditional POCs that take valuable time and resources away from startups, the Visa Accelerator Program is designed to quickly evaluate opportunities for partnerships, and move those promising opportunities forward with a fast-tracked path to pilots, partnerships, and commercialisation post-program.
DBS Bank expands digital trade finance on Contour platform
DBS Bank has boosted its digitalisation extending its offerings on trade finance network Contour to corporate customers in four key Asia-Pacific markets – Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Singapore-based DBS was the first bank to sign up to Contour’s beta network and completed the first fully digital Letter of Credit (LC) transaction on Contour last year. The bank has moved to Contour’s production network to offer streamlined digital LC transactions for customers, to help digitise global trade.
Contour’s network focuses on digitising paper-based trade finance processes which can be expensive and time-consuming.
APAC is seen as a key region for digitisation of trade finance as banks and corporates seek to mitigate risk and enhance cost efficiency, including moving away from traditional paper-based LC processes.
Via Contour, which is also based in Singapore, DBS will be able to provide a fully digital end-to-end LC settlement process for customers in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, including the transfer of electronic trade and title documents – increasing efficiency in the process by up to 90%.
Digitised trade finance builds resilient ecosystem
“Our partnership with Contour aligns with DBS’ ongoing efforts to drive greater efficiencies in trade and unlock strategic value for our corporate customers,” said Sriram Muthukrishnan, Group Head of Trade Product Management, DBS Bank.
“We recognise that digitisation is a powerful enabler to simplify the highly complex nature of trade finance, especially for processes relating to letters of credit. Digitising trade processes is also an increasingly relevant and heightened priority for corporates to survive and thrive in the new normal and will form an integral component for resilient trade ecosystems of the future.”
Contour’s decentralised network increases security as it validates all identities and leverages technology partners to match trade documents to real-time data. Contour also offers a sustainable way for companies to reduce their carbon footprint.
“The addition of another major Asian bank to our production network highlights Contour’s growing presence in APAC as an industry standard for digitising trade finance documentation,” said Carl Wegner, CEO at Contour.
“DBS has been an important partner for Contour in our work to support Singapore’s position as a key trading hub and has already participated in a number of successful transactions on our network. We’re delighted to facilitate its transition to offering live services to customers in these four markets. This is another important step on our journey to becoming the new digital end-to-end infrastructure for global trade.”