India's largest private-sector lender by assets, HDFC Bank, has announced the launch of its Accelerator Engagement Program (AEP) under the Bank’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE). In this first-of-its-kind program, HDFC Bank will partner with leading start-up accelerators from across the world to gain early access to potential fintech ideas and innovative solutions in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), analytics, and robotic process automation etc.

In the first phase, the Bank launched the program in association with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade (UK DIT) and start-up accelerators 91SpringBoard and IvyCamp.

HDFC Bank’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), launch in October 2017, is an endeavor to harness the digital and technology eco-system in India and abroad that helps enrich the experience of our offerings to customers. Through the AEP, the Bank will now have access to cutting edge technologies and platforms for potential use. It creates a win-win situation as the start-ups and fintechs also get the opportunity to deploy their solutions.

The City of London Corporation led by the Lord Mayor brought down the first fintech delegation, thus making the United Kingdom the first country globally to be associated under the programme.

The Accelerator Engagement Programme was launched in Mumbai by Mr. Nitin Chugh, Country Head – Digital Banking, HDFC Bank in the presence of Mr. Ben Green, First Secretary, Trade, DIT; Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman; Mr. Mithun Shetty, Head of Community Building at 91SpringBoard; and Mr. Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner, IvyCamp. A fintech delegation from UK DIT comprising start-ups based in the UK also made a presentation to HDFC Bank on technologies and solutions based on AI, ML, analytics, and robotic process automation etc.

“We are excited to take our engagements with fintech start-ups global with the Accelerator Engagement Programme. At HDFC Bank, we are looking for disruptive, global first innovations. This enables us to be in sync with our customers’ needs and desires and become part of their lifestyle. We believe that to tap into this vast pool of innovative ideas, we need to work as a partner in the digital eco-system and encourage the spirit of innovation in the country. This is a win-win for all of us,” said Nitin Chugh, Country Head – Digital Banking, HDFC Bank.

“I am delighted to help launch this powerful new initiative, and even happier that the delegation I’ve brought to India is the first to benefit from it. Fintech is an area of immense potential for the UK and India, and I look forward to seeing more collaboration between our two countries in this area,” said Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman.

91SpringBoard engages with more than 25,000 start-ups and fintechs globally as partners and facilitators. Similarly, IvyCamp is engaged with more than 5,000 start-ups and fintechs globally.

The Accelerator Engagement Program is part of the Bank’s CODE, where the objective is to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem with relevant players in the start-up and fintech space not just in India but globally. The other initiatives initiated by the Bank under CODE is a Digital Command Centre and ‘Industry Academia’. Industry Academia aims at mentoring and hand-holding fintechs and start-ups incubated at country’s top technical and B-schools like IIT-Bombay, IIT Roorkee to name a few. The Bank also organises Digital Innovation Summit, an annual event to identify path breaking fintech start-ups through an application process.

Other banks such as Yes Bank and Axis Bank have had already launched their startup accelerator programs in last couple of years. Yes Bank however is leading the race of tapping startups early after launching its fintech accelerator, the Bank had recently launched an another accelerator but multi sector this time. Called as YES SCALE, the new accelerator program by Yes Bank offer a 15 week program for startups in the areas of smart city, clean tech, Agritech, Lifesciences tech and education tech.

Axis Bank has Thought Factory, in the city of Bengaluru, as startup accelerator for fintech startups, launched in 2016.

Last November, HDFC had launched a fund for startups with an initial corpus of $25-30 million and later in March this year invested $10 million in MedGenome Labs, a Bengaluru-based DNA diagnostic and screening startup.

Besides, HDFC has also invested in fitness startup KOOH Sports and online automobile portal

Source - CXO Today

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