Accelerator Program : Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific

Applications are now open for financial tech start-ups to apply to an accelerator program backed by a group of 10 leading financial institutions & Accenture.

About the program

Companies selected in the Asia-Pacific-wide competitive search for the region’s top financial technology innovators will participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, a 12-week program that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development and gain exposure to top-level financial industry executives.

Who can participate

Entrepreneurs developing potentially game-changing technologies for financial services – particularly in the areas of Big Data & analytics, mobile & wireless, payments, risk management, security, compliance and social media and collaboration technologies – are invited to apply.

Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2014.

More about “Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific”

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010. The New York Lab’s 18 alumni companies have raised more than $76 million in venture financing and created approximately 150 jobs after participating in the program; one participant was acquired for $175 million.

In 2012, the FinTech Innovation Lab London was launched by Accenture and a dozen major banks in London, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. The majority of the participants in the inaugural program have gone on to sign deals with banks and collectively they have raised $10 million in new financing since participating.

According to a recent report by Accenture, Global investment in fintech ventures could more than double to $8 billion by 2018. Global investment in fintech ventures has more than tripled from $928 million in 2008 to $2.97 billion in 2013. During the same period, investment in Asia-Pacific fintech ventures has increased nearly fourfold to $104 million in 2013.

For further information, please refer to their website

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Review: Mobikwik Android App [Recharge, Bill Payment & more]

If you are on the lookout for All In One solution to Bill payment, DTH/Phone recharge, Online shopping etc. than Mobikwik could be the destination.

Mobikwik_new_logoWhat is Mobikwik

As mentioned on Mobikwik website, it is a Prepaid wallet powered by Zaakpay [Payments gateway founded by Upasana Taku & also Head of Merchant Operations for Mobikwik]. Adding money to your wallet lets you pay for your services and recharges in just one click, or even via SMS or by dialling a number.

User can register via their website, Android App, iOS App or Windows App.

In this article, we review the “Mobikwik Android App” & look at some of it’s interesting features …

Review of “Mobikwik Android App”

User Interface

The UI of the mobikwik app is simple & elegant. The color combination is very good. Navigating between different sections in the app is very simple. Just like other recharge applications available on the internet, in this app as well you can keep a track of “Recharge History”, “Recharge Status”, “Refund/Transfer status” etc.

Mobikwik_Combined_1

As mentioned before, user needs to add money to the wallet in order to use the services. For reviewing the app, we recharged the wallet with Rs. 100. The overall process of adding cash to the wallet was very simple & the entire transaction took around 20 odd seconds to complete. Once the wallet recharge was done, it took us merely 5 seconds to do our airtel online recharge

1-Click

As mentioned before, user can navigate through the “Recharge/Transfer history” so that “repetitive tasks i.e. recharging same mobile number” comes very handy & is a “great time saver”.

Mobile Recharge & Transfer of money

Another feature which was interesting is “Transfer of money from the wallet to another mobile user/email-id/Mobikwik user”. For testing the feature, we transferred around Rs. 50 from another Android Phone to our Mobikwik account for doing vodafone online recharge. Just like a banking transaction, the initiator receives an OTP [One Time Password] to complete the transfer. The transfer was smooth & completed within few seconds !!

Mobikwik_Recharge_Combined

Email snapshot & Mobile Update

Mobikwik_Recharge_Combined_Upload

Improvement Areas

Mobikwik is primarily a “Digital Wallet Based Application” that facilitates bill payment, recharge etc. but there are couple of features which we still feel are missing:

1. Direct recharge

Recharging Phone/DTH without maintaining balance in the wallet i.e. direct recharge option is required. This feature is available in other recharge applications like Paytm, Freecharge etc.

2. Added perks

It would have better “more appealing” if Mobikwik could provide user’s with perks on every transaction i.e. discount coupons from e-commerce companies, deals etc. There is a “Deals” section in the app but we could not find only limited number of merchants… may be it is work under progress :)

3. Special Recharge

For special recharges eg. 3G recharge pack [all packs apart from top-up's] Mobikwik does not come handy !!

Closing Remarks

Keeping improvements aside, Mobikwik is very user-friendly, simple & handy application [my favorite feature being money transfer which I have been using it very frequently since the time I installed Mobikwik :)]

Do give Mobikwik a spin & share your experience in the comments section …

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Event : “Jugaad-a-thon”, Jugaad Hackathon in association with Glocal Healthcare & GE Healthcare

CAMTech INDIA —a new United States Agency for International Development [USAID, India] funded public-private partnership to accelerate medical technology innovation for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) in India—announced its first medical technology hack-a-thon in Bangalore on July 18-20, 2014. This inaugural hack-a-thon is being organized in partnership with Glocal Healthcare and hosted by GE Healthcare India.

About Jugaad-a-thon

“The Jugaad-a-thon is a new way of elevating the experience & know-how of local experts, and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health,” said Elizabeth Bailey, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health. “We’re focused on finding impactful, marketable, and innovative ways to provide care to women and children in India.”

Event highlights

CAMTech INDIA’s inaugural Jugaad-a-thon [derived from the Hindi word jugaad meaning an innovative fix or work-around] will be a 48-hour event where 250 clinicians, engineers and entrepreneurs collaborate on disruptive, new solutions for unsolved clinical problems.

Cross-disciplinary teams addressing specific clinical challenges will work late into the night to develop functional prototypes and explore new business models to commercialize their innovations. Teams present their innovations to a panel of judges at the end of the event, and will be awarded a variety of prizes to help take their innovations forward.

Applications for the July 18-20 Jugaad-a-thon are due by July 7, 2014.

For more information, please log on to Jugaad-a-thon website or hop on to their Facebook Page

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Book Review : “Become an Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate”

How many of us out there in the crowd have the following feeling:

  • “Sigh, I am in the wrong profession”
  • “After engineering, I wanted to go into Web-Development but I am currently working as an Embedded Engineer”
  • “I should have been an Entrepreneur instead of working in an organization”

When I completed my engineering [and that too not from a well-known college & I only played Cricket :)], the only aim each one of us had is ” To have a STABLE JOB in TCS/Wipro/Infosys irrespective of the kind of work that might be assigned” without knowing what we wanted from life after Engineering !! And as you might have guessed, I was not selected on any of these companies from Campus !!!

On a lighter note this post is not about my “Life History” [and surely readers would be least interested in it :) ] but to stress the point that “What if as STUDENTS, we would have received proper GUIDANCE from industry insiders i.e. If you need Entrepreneurial guidance, you would turn to an Entrepreneur/ If you want to work in a startup, you would be turn to a startup employee”;  Mantra being “Turn for an advice/guidance to someone who has been there, done that !!

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” by Mr. Sivakumar Palaniappan is a book that acts as a “Holy Grail” for engineering students/fresh engineers.

About the author

Sivakumar Palaniappan is an Author, Motivational Trainer, Key Note speaker, Career Coach & Happiness Consultant, a hands-on engineer who has worked in companies like NXPQualcomm etc.

Detailed Review

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” is written with the aim of encouraging engineering graduates to be passionate engineers, help them enhance their employability potential & enable them to sculpt their career as an engineer. Please note, it is not a placement guide but it is a culmination of research done by the author through analysis of engineering education, discussion with placement officers, HR managers, parents etc. & trying to solve a pain-point – “Don’t be an Engineer for the heck of it but be a PASSIONATE engineer“.. doesn’t this sound like the 3-Idiots dialogue “Beta kabil bano kabil, Kamyabi to sali zak mar ke tumhare piche ayegi..” [Source - Galmsham]

Combined

Is this book for “YOU” ?

The book [Around 150 pages] is a breezy read with the message that “the reader i.e. engineer/student” should act on the tips. The book is structured in a nice manner where every chapter starts with a “Student Tale” i.e. a real-life incident that triggered the need for that particular chapter.

The book acts as a guide for “would be engineering students” to select the right stream of engineering so that when they are done with engineering, their interest/hobby also becomes their “profession”. Every chapter ends with a “Mantra” so that the reader can bring the “words” in each chapter into “formidable action”.

Key Chapters

As mentioned above, right from basic things like “Why choose an Engineering Degree” to “Why be a Student Entrepreneur”; the book tries to answer those tricky questions. Some of the notable chapters from the book are:

Chapter (5): Why should I develop a Useful Hobby - Having a USEFUL hobby [not sleeping, watching TV etc.] is very much important and you never know when your hobby becomes fulltime profession when you are bored of your day job.

Chapter (8): How to do What I Love to Do -

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius

10 steps approach to do what you love to do:

  1. Find your passion
  2. Find your finances
  3. Find your core strengths
  4. Find your weaknesses
  5. Focus on your strengths & improve upon your weaknesses
  6. Have the commitment
  7. Don’t ignore the present
  8. Get ready to give up
  9. Have a strong belief in yourself
  10. Have a big dream

Chapter (10): How to Use the Power of Social Media in Career Crafting

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, question is how well we do it - Erik Qualman

5 ways to use Social Media for Career Crafting

  1. Use the power of top three social sites i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
  2. Build a positive online identity
  3. Learn through social media
  4. Demonstrate your expertise & credibility
  5. Use your online presence effectively

Read More »

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Hands On : Nomad ChargeKey Review

How many times have you have been into situations where the phone has run out of battery & you had wished that there was “charging cable in your bag/pocket” :) Well, a US based startup HelloNoMad is trying to solve that problem with their innovative charging solution – ChargeKey & ChargeCard. We received a review copy of the “ChargeKey for Android” & today we do a hands-on review of the same.

ChargeKey for Android

Design

ChargeKey is a 2.5″ key sized charging cable. It is made up of flexible rubber components with two plastic ends. The cable can be connected to a PC, TV or any other device that can act as a “Host” and supply +5V for charging.  In case of “ChargeKey” for iPhone, the other end of the device includes “Lightning Connector” for Charging & Sync functionalities.

MainCover_ChargeKey

Portability

“Charging on the Go” is the primary concern that HelloNoMad is trying to solve & the “Size” is the main USP of the ChargeKey. One end of the ChargeKey provides the flexibility to the user to connect the ChargeKey to a key chain. In all the scenarios, the user would have their home keys with them, so ChargeKey ensures the phone is never out of charge.

I personally faced this issue the very day I received the ChargeKey & I had forgotten my Charger in the office; so I connected the ChargeKey to the TV to ensure my Android phone remains charged & I don’t miss any important calls :)

ChargeKey_WithKeyChain

Durability

As mentioned before, “Size” is makes ChargeKey unique charging solution & after using for around 2 months or so; there has been no issue with the cable. However, there there was one question [and I am sure any ChargeKey user would have this question in their minds] – “Why there is no mechanism i.e. caps to protect the charging plug”.

Charging_With_ChargeKey_ReSize

Well, HelloNoMad started with their KickStarter campaign [their funding goal being 29,000 USD] and that provided us with the answer [Source : HelloNoMad on KickStarter]

The lightning end of the cable is water resistant. You can wipe it clean with confidence that it will not corrode. That said, we did strongly consider a cap but it boiled down to the premise that we felt it wasn’t necessary.

Rubber quality is quite good and even after heavy usage, there has been no damage so far which makes ChargeKey a compelling proposition !!

Conclusion

Priced at $29 [with free shipping worldwide],  ChargeKey is a very interesting solution to end user’s charging needs !! If you are a die-hard traveller, ChargeKey is the one-stop solution to all your charging needs !! Please note that this review was done on “ChargeKey for Android”, if you are looking out for “Charging for your iDevice”, please head over here

If you have any questions about ChargeKey, please leave them in the comments section. If you are a blogger and interested to review ChargeKey, please leave your details in the comments section & I would send across my ChargeKey to you …

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About the author

Hey, Welcome to Himanshu's blog. Himanshu is a engineer, blogger, startupper & an aspiring entrepreneur from Bangalore, India. To know more about him, please visit this page.

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