Photo - Maybank Group Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Foong (centre) with the participants of MaybankFintech, 2015.
Malaysia's Maybank is confident that the Asean region will see a quantum leap in technology startups as more businesses in the region use non-traditional channels to expand their digital presence.
Michael Foong, Maybank Group's chief strategy officer, said this expansion will be boosted by interest from financial institutions and venture capital companies.
Foong said Maybank's own financial technology services programme - MaybankFinTech - has received "an overwhelming response from Asean tech startups."
He said that MaybankFinTech "is the first of its kind programme by a bank in South East Asia, which seeks to support startups to generate ideas in the financial technology sphere."
A total of 115 tech startups participated in the programme, including 109 from the ASEAN region, pitching their ideas revolving around seven main areas such as Channel, Digital & Mobile, Payments, Operational Excellence, Business & Operating Model, Responsible Banking and Sales Effectiveness.
The MaybankFintech 2015 programme included preliminary sessions in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta.
Following this, the Bank received submissions which came mainly from the Asian region, and from as far as Tunisia, Ukraine, Chile and even the United States. A total of 21 were then shortlisted for the final session in Kuala Lumpur. The finalists were from Malaysia (4), Indonesia (2), Singapore (4), Thailand (4), Philippines (5), Vietnam (1) and Japan (1).
Foong said that global investment in Fintech ventures has tripled from some US$4.05 billion in 2013 to almost US$12.2 billion in 2014, citing data from Accenture's report -Future of Banking & Fintech 2015.
During the same period, investments in Asia-Pacific Fintech ventures have also more than tripled, from US$245 million in 2013 to US$767 million in 2014.
He said one of the former challenges for tech startups has been to navigate through financial institutions to make their pitches. "We are now seeing increasing openness among venture capital firms and banks in this region to listen to these startups and support them, given that these companies themselves stand to benefit should the startups succeed with their projects."
"We want to be a central member of the Fintech community in the region, to help grow and support entrepreneurs, by providing them with an avenue to connect directly with the financial industry," he said.
"Ultimately, we not only want the Bank to gain from these innovations, but also for the Asean region to benefit from the economic and social impact of such technological advances."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.