In the tech scene, participating in startup competitions, challenges and hackathons can provide young ventures with great networking and funding opportunities, as well as exposure.
For this list, we’ve focused on startup competitions and hackathons for fintechs in Asia. Some of these challenges are still open for application for this year’s event, while others, though having already wrapped up their 2020 edition, are being organized annually and will likely be coming back next year.
Asia Hot-Tech Battle
Held since 2016, Asia Hardware Battle was previously an international hardware startup competition held annually across the region.This year, TechNode has re-positioned Asia Hardware Battle into Asia Hot-Tech Battle, focusing on emerging technologies and industries including, but not limited to, consumer electronics, the Internet-of-Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, fintech, smart mobility, proptech, new retail, medtech, edutech and foodtech.
The city pitches will take place beginning June in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an, Singapore, Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, and other cities.In addition to crowning the gold winner, this year will include new special categories such as best innovation, most investable startup, and more, with up to a 100,000 RMB cash prize to be won.
To add on, participants will gain opportunities to connect with top venture capital firms (VCs) for potential investment and enjoy extended mileage and visibility with TechNode’s exclusive media coverage. Alumni will be invited to join TechNode Global+, where they will be able to tap into an extensive community to connect and grow with technology leaders, VCs, and partners across Asia.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced in June the launch of a S$1.75 million MAS Global Fintech Innovation Challenge, a competition seeking innovative solutions that can help financial institutions respond to two critical global challenges: COVID-19 and climate change.
The theme for the competition is “Building Resilience, Seizing Opportunities, Emerging Stronger,” and comprises two distinct revamped competitions: the MAS Fintech Awards and the MAS Global Fintech Hackcelerator.
It will be hosted entirely on the API Exchange (APIX), a cloud-based innovation platform.
MAS Global Fintech Hackcelerator 2020
The MAS Global Fintech Hackcelerator is an annual event that matches innovative market-ready solutions with industry’s actual technology needs. It comprises two segments: the Local Programme and the International Programme.
The Local Programme, supported by KPMG Digital Village, will publish high-priority problem statements collated from the finance industry in Singapore and globally.
A record 107 problem statements were received this year, across four categories: Responding to a global pandemic; Green finance solutions; Green finance enablers; and Sustainability. Fintech solution providers from across the world are invited to submit their proprietary solutions to any of these problem statements.
The finalists will be mentored by industry experts to strengthen their proposals and to develop customized prototypes on APIX, which will provide them access to a development sandbox rich in data and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
The International Programme comprises winners of fintech competitions organized by international partners, including the Saudi G20 Presidency, the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub, Women’s World Banking, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The winners of these partner competitions will be fast-tracked into the finals of the Global Fintech Hackcelerator.
Up to 20 finalists of the Global Fintech Hackcelerator will each receive a S$20,000 cash stipend for their preparations for the Hackcelerator Demo Day. From these finalists, up to three winners will be selected on Demo Day at the Singapore Fintech Festival, with each receiving S$50,000 in prize money.
The application deadline for the MAS Global Fintech Hackcelerator 2020 is July 7, 2020.
ADB-AIM Hackathon 2020: Shaping the New Normal
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asian Institute of Management (AIM) are working together this year to focus on the COVID-19 crisis that has wiped out trillions of dollars from the world’s economies.
The challenge faced by the world is how to bring economic activity back. The objective is to envision the new normal in light of potential long-term behavioral changes and encourage innovative solutions to address these shifts and their associated challenges.
The ADB-AIM Hackathon 2020: Shaping the New Normal competition is open to startups, students, ADB employees and the general public around the globe, which are invited to tackle one or more of the following six challenges each with their own individual themes:
Nowcasting the Economic Impact of COVID-19: Big data solutions to track the real-time economic impact of COVID-19;
Earth Observation Data Challenge: Earth observation data to monitor the economic activities in select countries in Asia;
Digital Technology to Increase Credit Access for MSMEs: Increase credit access of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by exploring alternative credit scoring mechanisms to create a better picture of creditworthiness of entrepreneurs in a post-COVID-19 world.
Digitizing Waste Collection through Handling, Tracking, and Recycling to Disposal: Solutions to better manage and trace waste;
Real-time Tracking of Resettlement Implementation: Tracking involuntary resettlement safeguard implementation; and
Digital Technology to Assess Safeguard Impacts: Improving safeguard compliance.
Inclusive Fintech 50 2020
In its second year, the Inclusive Fintech 50 initiative will identify a cohort of 50 high-potential, early-stage, and innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience for the three billion financially underserved people worldwide.
The event aims to create visibility for the most promising inclusive fintechs with a solution among credit, insurance, payments and remittances, savings and personal financial management, and infrastructure addressing challenges of underserved segments.
The initiative will bring selected fintechs together with leading investors in the space. Two of them will also receive cash prizes of US$25,000 based on the judging panel’s assessment of their contributions to the financial resilience – or the ability to withstand and recover from shocks – of low-income households and MSMEs.
Inclusive Fintech 50 was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, with support from Accion and IFC, and additional funding from BlackRock and Jersey Overseas Aid and Comic Relief. The initiative is implemented by MIX, the global data resource for investors focused on inclusive finance.
This year’s application deadline is July 10, 2020.
Jumpstarter Global Pitch Competition
Jumpstarter is not-for-profit initiative from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, providing a startup platform for all entrepreneurs and young people in Hong Kong. It is a two-day first-of-its-kind startup conference focused exclusively on advocating entrepreneurship, showcasing quality startups, providing high-impact networking opportunities among startups, investors and corporates, and offering a diverse group of programs with inspiration and know-how including keynotes, panel discussions, experience and workshops, etc.
Each year, Jumpstarter organizes the Global Pitch Competition. This year, a record of more than 2,000 startups in the fields of retail, fintech, smart city, and deep tech, from 65 countries and regions applied to compete. Pitching competitions were held in eight cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, London, Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco and Toronto.
Tencent Finance Academy Fintech Competition
The annual Tencent Finance Academy Fintech Competition offers full-time undergraduates and postgraduates in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area the opportunity to compete to win cash prizes, and join even the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation’s Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme (STEP).
This year’s competition was themed “Tech for Good,” and focused on five main topics: inclusive financial products for virtual banks; electronic identification; the promotion of financial connectivity in the Greater Bay Area; the acceleration of digital transformation of payments scenarios and optimization of customer experience; and solutions related to financial inclusion and or “tech for good.”
PolyFintech 100 API Hackathon
PolyFintech100 API Hackathon is an annual hackathon which aims to nurture fintech talent to meet the rapidly changing needs of the financial services sector.
Each year, PolyFintech100 API Hackathon invites students from the five local polytechnics to develop fintech prototypes using open APIs from the industry to address real world problem statements, such as more efficient GST refunds for tourists, AI-based e-payment service for hawker centers, peer-to-peer micro-lending platform for students, etc.
The finalist gets a chance to showcase their ideas at the Singapore Fintech Festival, which takes place every year in the city state towards the end of the year.