In February, UNCDF Malaysia hosted a ‘Speed Networking’ event for local fintech organisations at the Orbit Fintech Hub in Kuala Lumpur. This event is part of the i3 Program’s efforts to spark fintech partnerships that can improve the financial health of low-to-moderate income Malaysians.
Why spark partnerships for financial health?
UNCDF research shows that financial pressures prevent low-to-moderate income people from having a sense of fulfilment in life. Most Malaysians now have a bank account, but so much more can be done to make financial services relevant for this market of 15 million people. It takes partnerships between start-ups and established players with different products and strengths to take the innovation to the next level.
Roughly 40 participants attended, mostly from organizations who participated in two innovation challenges organized by FinLab – i3 Program’s innovation lab managed by UNCDF in Malaysia. These organisations provide services such as micro-insurance, payment solutions, e-wallets, micro-savings apps, and psychometric analysis.
“This event is part of i3 Program’s efforts to spark partnerships among Malaysia’s fintech players to commercialize solutions that have a positive impact on vulnerable people who are struggling to manage their financial lives,” says UNCDF Malaysia Technical Specialist Hee Sung Kim. “We hope this event is the start of many ongoing discussions.”
The event took a ‘speed-dating’ format comprised of back-to-back 15-minute meetings between pairs of organisations. Each team met with three or four others. With the support of a UNCDF moderator, teams in each meeting brainstormed collaboration opportunities and agreed next steps. This format allowed for several fast introductions in a short timeframe.
The event attendees from Malaysia’s fintech industry were in alphabetical order:
● AEON Credit
● Axiata Digital
● Global Psytech
What attendees had to say about the event
“Partnerships are pretty important to an organisation like ours. We like to think outside of the box so we’re always looking for new ideas and new ways we can work with the community. ” -Navin Rajagopalan, CCO/ Co-Founder, BigPay
Navin Rajagopalan, CCO/ Co-Founder, BigPay
“If it were not for this event, yes, we would have approached these other teams anyway. But we would probably meet them six months later, or a year later. Two of the three that we met, we actually don’t know anything about them, and we didn’t even know they exist. We probably would not have heard about them within the next six months.” Danny Leong, Group Chief Executive Officer, GHL
Vanessa Lu, Manager, Sales, SME Products & Services
Danny Leong, Group Chief Executive Officer
“The other teams that we met were very open, which was surprising, particularly towards insurance! They had a lot of questions, which I was surprised about, but it shows interest to take this further and do a deal. I foresee that we can close 2 of the 3 deals from today in the coming weeks.” - Sharian Raj, CEO, Senang
Sharian Raj, CEO, Senang
For more on UNCDF Malaysia financial health research
To read about the six customer types that UNCDF identified during research into the financial health of low to moderate income people in Malaysia, download part one of our Meet the Customer consumer insights report. To understand the financial lives of these six customer types, download part two of the report.
The i3 Program supports public and private partners to innovate, implement, and impact positively on the financial health of the low-to-moderate income people in Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Vietnam. The i3 Programme is funded by MetLife Foundation. In Malaysia, the i3 Program is implemented by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in close collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).