Last month I had this amazing opportunity to attend an informative event organized by Axis Bank. It was held at Axis Bank’s thought factory to celebrate the Graduation Day of the first cohort start-ups.
As you know, Axis bank is India’s third largest private sector bank. In July 2016, Axis Bank launched its flagship accelerator Program for start-ups, the very first Indian Bank to do so.
The Thought Factory, is Axis Bank’s co-innovation Lab, which is located in the city of Bangalore. The lab was formed with the sole objective of building disruptive banking solutions – #UnimaginedIsUndone’, being the lab’s maxim.
Thought Factory team has collaborated with OCBC & Visa Innovation Lab, Singapore for co-innovating. A Tech Advisory Board comprising of Sharad Sharma (iSpirit), Manish Chokhani (Enam), Vishal Gondal (Founder, GoQii) & Shankar Narayan (Singapore based serial entrepreneur) along with Axis Bank Senior Management form the ThinkTank for Thought Factory together guide the Thought Factory team in various functions.
Over the past year, Thought Factory has been a major FinTech ecosystem enabler in Bangalore, hosting multiple events, workshops, international visitors and other corporate clients; thereby enhancing industry-start up collaboration.
For the first cohort of its Accelerator Program, Axis Bank’s Think Tank, selected 6 emerging start -ups from an application pool of 108.
Once the start-ups were on board, they were given a structured mentorship program and access to Axis Bank’s Thought Factory office space. Axis Bank’s aim behind the program was to expedite the overall growth of these emerging start-ups along with exploring novel banking ideas with them. The program focused on two areas:
- 3 months long classroom styled workshops, focusing on Customer, Product and Traction. The zone Start-ups and the Program Managers of the Bank’s Accelerator program facilitated this. Zone Start-ups organized various sessions, meeting with Eco-system gurus and investors.
- A tactical Proof-Of- Concept with Axis Bank was enabled by Axis Bank’s Thought Factory team. The POC aided a live validation of start-up’s product idea and its market acceptance.
At the start of the event, Axis Bank Executive Director Rajiv Anand briefed us about the 6 start-ups that were selected for mentoring & funding. He also mentioned that the Axis bank is proud to be the first ever Indian Bank to do so. We then, went on to see the presentations and demo by these start-ups and here they are:
S2Pay – Enabling Offline Mobile Payments
Business Area – Payments
S2Pay forms a layer over payments app and enables the end consumer to make secure offline payments from their mobile app. The technology is especially useful in remote areas where internet data is still a question mark; making digital payments a reality for everyone.
Pally – AI Stack based Chatbot for Investment Advisory
Business Area – Investments
Pally has created a chatbot. Once the user feeds the chatbot with the an image of their salary slip, it creates an investment portfolio which maximizes tax saving for the end customer. The plan is customized for each customer; his details and desired saving plans are queried by an intelligent chat by the bot.
Perpule – Self checkout on mobile app
Business Area – Payments
Perpule’s app lets end customers scan the shopped products from their mobile app, and pay for the billed products using the app once the list is complete. Perpule integrates with retailer’s campaigns, thus automatically applies discounts/offers on the go. Perpule wants to do away the check-out queues, and make shopping fun.
FintechLabs – Analytics in lending
Business Area: Lending
Fintech labs analytical models can be used in digital lending space. With their analytics, they want to digitize lending completely, making it quick, easy but safe and focused.
Paymatrix : Credit in rental space
Business Area: Real Estate, Payments, Credit Cards, Liabilities
Paymatrix is trying to solve the problem of credit involved in Indian rental market via enabling payments to land lords via credit cards. They also help landlords in rent/property management. Paymatrix is trying to reduce the commotion in field on Indian rentals and instill transparency & organization.
Post our interaction with each one of the start-ups, we went to attend the talk where GIEOM spoke about their flagship AI solution for banking sector. The event was ended on a yummy note, with tea and snacks.
The past 6 months have been quiet eventful for the start-ups, Perpule won the semi-final round of Next Money FintechFinals ‘17, and raised a seed funding of $650K from Kalaari Capital, S2Pay and Gieom onboarded multiple new clients, FintechLabs & Paymatrix expanded their services portfolio while Pally evolved in its product idea and expanded its team.
Axis Bank & start-ups
Axis Bank has always been keen on adoption of technology in its systems and solutions. Besides the Accelerator start-ups, Bank, with the Thought Factory team, has been working with other upcoming start-ups too. With Active AI(a Singapore based start-up specializing in AI stack), Bank is building a chatbot. The bot will be able to provide speedy redress of customer queries via chat. Another interesting solution is AI based video-surveillance, which the Thought Factory team is working for with Uncanny Vision. If successful, the solution has potential of removing any manual intervention in surveillance.
Axis Bank’s innovation team is working on recruitment of start-ups for the second cohort of the Accelerator. For a much quicker implementation Bank is also developing a Development Platform – a sandbox environment of its APIs, which can be used by start-ups for a quick plug-n- play.
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