‘HatchX’ Sri Lanka’s first fintech accelerator
Despite the volatile condition in the country and the world due to the pandemic, Sri Lanka’s first fintech accelerator program launched virtually on April 23rd 2020. This is also the first virtual accelerator to be launched in the South Asian region overall during COVID-19. HatchX fintech chapter is executed in partnership with Lankan Angel Network (LAN) funded by the Ford Foundation with the endorsement of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and Fintech Association of Sri Lanka which will be instrumental in the startups reaching out to and collaborating with fintech ecosystems across the region. Through HatchX, these startups can make it easier, faster, and cheaper to use financial services for not just Sri Lankans but for citizens of the South Asian region to navigate sophisticated financial markets and remain globally competitive. “Everyone is becoming receptible to more digital forms of transactions,” Jeevan Gnananm, Co-Founder of Hatch who encourages startups to see the silver lining in any situation. “We consider this an opportunity not only to support these deserving startups but to ensure that all the players in the financial ecosystem see the value of innovation through the outcome of this program,” says Randhula De Silva, CEO at Hatch. “It’s a fantastic time to be in fintech. Even though we’re unable to meet physically, this program is sure to be as efficient and result-driven as possible,” said Chalinda Abeykoon, CEO of LAN. Seven fintech startups in Sri Lanka will go through an intensive curriculum of four months and receive tailored advisory with mentors from the industry completely free-of-charge. They are early-stage fintech startups that are at a level of business maturity and positive traction while being viable businesses both commercially and as an investment potential. The startups will also gain access to banks, financial institutions, and networks that will allow the founders to develop the business whereas traditionally it would take many years to access such opportunities. The seven startups include Digital Insurance Lanka Brokers that offer insurance solutions through telecommunication operators, Direct Pay which introduces a cashless payment system, Flipbox.com which finds the best rates for fixed deposits, Helios P2P which is a peer-to-peer lending platform, iLoan which is a blockchain-powered enabler service, MintPay which is a “buy now, pay later” service and OGO Pay which is a unified platform to connect anyone to any financial institution. “HatchX aims to rapidly accelerate each business, improve the capabilities of the founders and innovate the fintech landscape, while enhancing overall investability” says Nio Liyanage, Programme Director, emphasizing that business viability, potential impact, and leadership qualities of the founders were key areas evaluated during selection. As founder of business-building boutique STARTUPRIGHT.net, Nio specializes in growing technology start-ups to solve big problems through hands-on guidance, and has supported 200+ companies and built dozens of accelerators in regions including South East Asia, Australia, and Africa over the last 10+ years. Set against the commercial background of Fort, Hatch is an accelerator for startups to experiment on ideas, acquire knowledge, share lessons, and thrive successfully together. In addition to hosting entrepreneurs in its premises, Hatch empowers businesses with coaching and mentoring programs to build a brighter entrepreneurial horizon in Sri Lanka. Photo caption A snapshot of the virtual launch of ‘Hatch X’ Sri Lanka’s first fintech accelerator program.