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How fintech startups can fast forward their growth

Fintech Forward, powered by AWS and Saison Capital, is a 10-week programme that helps early-stage fintech startups build the next generation of fintech integrations & products in ASEAN

The ASEAN fintech ecosystem has grown tremendously over the last 5 years, with more than $37 billion funding raised by startups in ASEAN. With COVID-19 accelerating the need for rapid digitalisation in the financial industry, it has enabled many fintechs to grow tremendously as well. Meanwhile, non-fintech companies have also seen a great opportunity in embedding various financial services through Embedded Finance.

As this trend continues to expand and the emergence of smarter digital solutions in the fintech sector continues to flourish, startups both in the fintech and non-fintech sector have to equip themselves with the proper skills and knowledge needed to adapt more seamlessly to our fast-changing times.

Fintech Forward powered by AWS and Saison Capital

AWS and Saison Capital have collaborated to launch Fintech Forward — a 10-week online programme for fintech startups, non-fintech startups that are working on embedded finance, or decentralised finance business models in ASEAN. The 10-week programme is designed to support early-stage fintechs that are building the future of finance in ASEAN.

Founders attending the programme are poised to learn key insights, strategies, founder stories, and business and technical learnings from industry insiders to accelerate the digital growth of their startups.

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The sessions on Fintech Forward will cover topics such as fundraising, product management, compliance, fintech architecture, and go-to-market (GTM) strategy, among others. These sessions will be led by leaders from Saison Capital, their mentor network, and mentors from AWS.

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In addition, there will be guest speakers from fintech, embedded finance, and blockchain startups across ASEAN and many more who will share their stories of operating in their respective markets. Learnings from these key stakeholders will be instrumental in helping startups grow, expand, strategise, and adapt to a smarter and stronger digital future.

AWS and Saison Capital will select 10-15 companies to participate in the 10-week online programme starting in the second week of June 2021. Selected startups may be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in AWS Activate credits, as well as be part of sessions with fintech domain experts and technical experts with deep experience building on AWS.

The perks of joining the programme

Other than the AWS Activate credits that startups are eligible for, they will enjoy access to a strong network of industry stakeholders. By being part of the Fintech Forward, founders can connect with the team from AWS, Saison Capital, and other sector experts.

In addition, the program has a robust support system from a range of experts in a wide range of fintech sub-sectors. The selected startups will be immersed in an educational environment filled with masterclasses on sales, fundraising, fintech, hiring, strategy, security and compliance, infrastructure scaling, and so much more.

Moreover, accepted participants will be able to access an array of insights and tools. Fintech Forward’s educational curriculum led by sector experts that spans across all the key underlying foundations to develop a business as well as the GTM Roadmap. Lastly, they will receive valuable insights from startup veterans from various geographic contexts on how to scale and grow in new dynamic markets such as Southeast Asia.

Building the future of Finance in ASEAN

Saison Capital is a single LP fund, backed by Credit Saison, one of Japan’s largest consumer credit companies/credit card issuers and a Pan-Asian fintech wholesale debt provider. Saison Capital invests US$100k to US$3M directly into Pre-Seed to B stage companies across South East Asia and India. As a fund with a fintech bias, they have invested into household names like Grab Financial Group, Shopback, Ula, Bukukas, Tazapay, alongside marquee investors like Temasek, Sequoia, RTP Global, AC Ventures, and Whiteboard Capital. They have also been LP investors into top regional funds like Beenext, CyberAgent, and top global funds like Quona and Better Tomorrow Ventures.

“Together with AWS, the Fintech Forward programme will be a platform for us to further scale our support to founders who wish to accelerate their understanding of financial services and the opportunities available in the region,” said Chris Sirisereepaph, Partner at Saison Capital.

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Sirisereepaph added, “given the huge headwinds of digitisation in the last year, we believe it has never been a better time to build companies that will greatly improve the access of consumers and SMEs to goods and services, regardless of income or geography.”

From idea to IPO, AWS empowers fintech startups to deliver exceptional customer experiences by providing the deepest and broadest sets of innovation tools, including machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) services. Fintech startups such as Coinbase, Robinhood, Wise, Carta, Xendit, and many more are working with AWS Fintech Team to serve their customers around the globe.

As fintech startups face traditional and emerging risks in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, they rely on AWS infrastructure, services, and industry experience to protect their business and customers.

Interested startups may apply now on Saison Capital website. The deadline for applications is 9 June 2021, at 2359PM GMT+8. Startups are encouraged to apply as early as possible as interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

Alfonso Manalastas

Alfonso Manalastas

Alfonso is a Manila-based creative who has previously worked as a content creator and curator for STORM Technologies, a copywriter for NuWorks Interactive Labs, and now as a full-time writer for e27.

He is also a published op-ed contributing writer, a poet, and a touring spoken word artist who has performed in over 15 cities around the Philippines.

He has been invited to perform and speak for two TEDx events in Cebu (2017) and Davao (2018). He was also accepted as a poetry fellow for two National Writers’ Workshops in 2018 and 2019. His op-ed articles can be found in Rappler, Scout, ANCX, and Inquirer, while his poems are available in Cha Asian Journal (Hong Kong), LIKHAAN (Philippines), Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Cordite Poetry Review (Australia).

By day, he writes news and feature articles for e27, and by night, he performs original poems at spoken word events.

Follow him on Twitter at @not_alfonso