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SCB subsidiary Digital Ventures unveils start-up initiative

DIGITAL Ventures, a new subsidiary of Siam Commercial Bank Group, yesterday launched its first start-up incubation programme and a bank-simulation platform for the experimentation of new ideas.

Charle Charoenphan, head of the Digital Ventures Accelerator incubation programme, said the initiative provided knowledge, advice and funding for start-ups to strengthen Thai-based and regional financial-technology (fintech) businesses.

Digital Ventures says start-ups participating in the programme will be intensely educated on basic entrepreneurship through consultations with mentors who will work closely with them throughout the endeavour.

Each business participating in the programme will be given a grant of Bt300,000.

Half of the registrations for the programme have been reserved for start-ups directly related to fintech, while the remaining half have been reserved for start-ups in other fields – a move designed to maximise the benefits for both SCB and its corporate and individual customers.

The registration period is open until the end of August.

Suvicha Sudchai, managing director of digital products at the bank, said Digital Ventures would next month launch a free bank-simulation platform that acted as a virtual testing environment for businesses developing fintech products.

“This will give entrepreneurs insight into banking mechanisms to test whether products are ready for market launch or not.”

The company says that under Digital Ventures the first application programming interface in Thailand’s banking sector will be launched, providing the bank data to help businesses develop products. This service will also be free.

“The division is playing the role of a laboratory within SCB that carries out research and development for financial-technology products and services, and innovates new solutions such as blockchains, the Internet of Things, machine learning and biometrics technologies to satisfy customer demand,” Suvicha said.

Thana Thienachariya, chairman of the executive committee for Digital Ventures, said its mission was to serve as a fintech start-up enabler that was dedicated to driving change in the banking industry through investment and innovation via the company’s three main divisions – corporate venture capital, digital products and accelerator.

Digital Ventures has US$50 million (Bt1.7 billion) in capital for investment in financial technology.

Of that amount, $28 million will be invested directly in fintech start-ups, both in Thailand and globally, $20 million will be invested in a fund of funds, and $2 million will be invested in boosting Thailand’s start-up ecosystem through DV Accelerate.

Polapat Arkkrapridi, managing director of the group’s corporate venture capital division, said the first investment had been in Golden Gate Ventures, one of Southeast Asia’s most successful start-up funds.

He said Digital Ventures had also partnered with Singapore-based Life.SREDA, a global venture-capital fund specialising in financial technology. The collaboration would strategically benefit Digital Ventures in both research and investment, improving the company’s financial services.

Original article by Asina Pornwasin, The Nation