NUR-SULTAN – The Tech Hub of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) plans to launch new programs and invites financial corporations to cooperate after the successful launch of the first fintech accelerator for banks, reported the hub’s press service.
As an AIFC subdivision, Tech Hub promotes start-up ecosystem, venture industry market, e-commerce, corporate innovation and new technology in Kazakhstan. The hub also launches support programs for market players, promotes structuring of venture deals and the testing of new fintech solutions.
Last year, Tech Hub advanced the first fintech accelerator for banks jointly with the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF) and with the support of the Mastercard international payment system. Its mission has been to build a long-term partnership between banks in Kazakhstan, start-ups and technology companies.
“We are glad that Kazakhstan’s first fintech accelerator was of great interest among startups and fintech companies from different countries. This shows the attractiveness of the banking market from the point of view of business growth, joint testing and implementation of the latest technologies,” said Assel Abdrakhmanova, the head of Corporate Innovation at Tech Hub of the AIFC.
Altyn Bank, the Eurasian Bank and the Freedom Finance Bank took part in the fintech accelerator.
At the first stage, 75 business projects involving Kazakh banks have been conducted. The startup solutions were announced for projects featuring digital products and services for retail, SMEs and corporate clients, business process automation, information security, solutions for marketing, sales, HR, GovTech.
As a result, more than 300 applications were received from startups from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Singapore, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Poland, Estonia and the U.S. Thirty teams selected by banks presented their solutions to upper management at pitch sessions held in December 2021. 11 startups who entered the finals proposed solutions for information security, gamification, partner services development, robotics, onboarding and employee training, marketing personalization, and big data processing.
A joint pilot has been launched with one of the IT resource configuration security management projects. The banks are currently negotiating with the rest of the teams to determine business cases, discuss conditions and pilot scenarios.
According to Deputy Chairman of the Board of Eurasian Bank Alexander Naumov, the team has received more than 220 applications from startups with the intent to increase the customer base through the application of innovative solutions, optimization of digital marketing campaigns before robotization of internal banking processes, as well as information security solutions. “We have dramatically expanded our partnership network, opening up opportunities for future synergies. We are conducting the first pilot projects, together we strive to obtain excellent results,” he said.
“The banking sector of the country offers great opportunities. If used correctly, Kazakh banks could become key players in the CIS. It is now more urgent than ever to quickly find and implement new products and services to meet the emerging demand in a timely manner. We are glad that together with partners we have conducted the first set of accelerators, which showed excellent results and willingness of banks to actively implement innovation,” said Irina Tarasova, the director of the Department of Corporate Programs of the IIDF.
Experts predict that the interest of startups in the Kazakh market will only increase. Kazakhstan ranks 13th place in The Global Fintech Index 2021 in the Asia-Pacific region. Demand for innovative financial products and services, higher internet penetration, progressive regulation, the growth of cashless payments over the past few years, and a developed infrastructure to support startups contribute to fintech growth.