What types of businesses is the DBS Accelerator focusing on?
We are looking for financial technology-focused startups with a passion for innovation and lots of creativity, and who share our revolutionary vision.
Specifically, DBS is looking for startups that can address one of the areas of focus. However, any innovative and creative startup that can help improve upon the bank’s ability to serve its customers and to build efficiencies is also welcome to apply.
What role is DBS going to play in the DBS Accelerator and what commitment has it made?
DBS is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and startups. During the programme, you will receive mentorship from carefully selected business leaders working in various business units to help you develop your solution and guide you towards a potential pilot.
What size company is DBS focusing on for this programme?
We’re focusing on startups at the seed through series B stages, so these tend to be small businesses or individuals, though there’s no limit to the size of the company applying. We’re particularly interested in FinTech solutions that can be quickly brought to market and ready for beta testing or launch at the Demo Days.
Ideal startups have a functioning prototype, a product that is looking for validation in a commercial setting, or are revenue-generating and looking to scale into new high potential markets. Unrelated to size, startups that have a strong business case for working with financial institutions and have a proven track record in this space will likely excel in this programme.
How are the final companies chosen? What is the criteria?
Innovative, tech-savvy companies with cutting-concepts that could take banking services to a new dimension. We are particularly interested in these types of solutions.
All companies who apply will be considered by a joint DBS and Nest vetting committee. Startups and founders that can demonstrate the potential to work in synergy with DBS or benefit from being based in Hong Kong for the programme duration will receive additional consideration.
Submissions will be vetted on a rolling basis, and startups can expect to be contacted within four weeks of submission if business units within DBS and/or Nest see potential synergies or would like to understand more about the business.
What if my company is not an expert at developing FinTech solutions?
We’re not looking for experts, just creative startups with a visionary attitude and inspiring ideas. You’ll get access to DBS and Nest’s experts in the field. All we ask is that you’re capable of building your own solution, have the drive to make it happen, and are focused on the potential of your startup in a banking context.
Will all the mentors come from DBS itself?
No. Each of the startups will have access to DBS mentors as well as regional experts from Nest and their joint network of entrepreneurs, as well as business leaders throughout Asia.
How does the application process work?
Interested startups can apply online here, which directs you to a dedicated application page.
It includes a few simple questions about your company and your team. You’ll have the opportunity to include a video and pitch deck that describes your business.
DBS and NEST teams will review applications submitted and arrange interviews to those high potential startups to determine the final selection.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed quarterly by the DBS and Nest teams. If you miss an earlier deadline, please still feel free to apply for the next round of applications during the year.
How does the selection process work?
As part of the selection process, startups can expect that DBS and Nest may reach out to ask for further information, and potentially invite startups to one-on-one session with various DBS business units and Nest representatives to assess business case application and share preliminary feedback. These one-on-one engagement sessions with DBS will only be arranged for shortlisted applications. Submit your applications early to secure a chance to obtain invaluable feedback from the business units.
How detailed does my idea need to be in the application?
In this initial application process, we ask applicants to describe their business, the market opportunity, team, traction and potential synergies with DBS. The more information you provide, the easier it is for us to assess the full potential of your business.
Do I need to send in a business plan?
No, just complete the online application on F6S.
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
Applications are accepted all year-round. If you’re a finalist, we’ll notify you for acceptance within 30 days of that date.
Is there an equity stake component for participation in the programme?
DBS and NEST are offering 3 months’ support for free, however as part of the programme there will be a warrant system in place allowing both DBS and NEST to potentially invest in a startup after the programme.
An agreement will be signed with you that gives us the opportunity to invest in your company at the conclusion of the program and the terms of this agreement will be negotiated on a case by case basis and will always be based on a mutually agreed valuation.
How can participants receive funding after the DBS Accelerator ends?
You’ll have the opportunity to showcase your products and services at Demo Day, where a range of potential investors, which may include venture capitalists and influential industry leaders, will see your proposition and listen to your pitch. Nest also maintains an ongoing relationship with founders and continues making introductions to investors and VCs after the program ends.
Where is the DBS Accelerator office?
The DBS Accelerator office is located in Wan Chai, on Hong Kong Island.
Do companies have to be on site for the entire acceleration period?
We recommend that you’re on site as much as possible during the programme. The more immersed in it you are, the more you’ll gain. Although we appreciate you may need to occasionally work elsewhere, please be aware that participating companies won’t be able to take any DBS information or data away from the DBS Accelerator office. There may be other restrictions on what work can be taken off-site, to make sure our confidential information and intellectual property rights are protected.
Do participants need to be based in Hong Kong to take part in the programme?
Yes, the program will arrange and cover your accommodation costs for the duration of the program (up to three months), as well as one set of return flights to and from your home country.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from Asia? Can you help with visa/immigration issues?
Anyone from anywhere can apply. If you’re accepted, you’ll need to have a legal right to be in Hong Kong. DBS/Nest may be able to provide working visas for successful companies for the duration of the programme. If this isn’t possible, we can put you in touch with agencies and services that can help you with visas and immigration, but we can only do this once you’ve been accepted into the programme. We encourage you to start this process as early as possible.
Will DBS and Nest cover my costs during the programme?
DBS and Nest offer office space to all participating startups during the programme at the DBS Vault in Wan Chai. For startups who are not based in Hong Kong full time, accommodation costs (up to three months) and a set of return flights to and from their home country will be covered.
When are the Demo Days and who will be invited?
Invitation-only Demo Days will be held periodically throughout the year. We’ll invite key people from our strong network of industry leaders, investors, venture capitalists and press to join.
What will a typical day be like for a DBS Accelerator participant?
We’re pleased to say there’s no such thing as a typical day. Throughout the programme, you can expect to be guided by DBS and Nest mentors and advisors, as well as access to venture capitalists, CEOs, innovators and industry visionaries.
Will DBS invest in my company?
DBS will not directly invest in any startups upfront but the DBS Accelerator programme is designed to explore multiple opportunities for engagement and collaboration. However, DBS will approach startups to initiate investment-related discussions if DBS finds that the startups are a good fit for their investment strategy.
What guarantees can DBS make to companies that get into the programme?
DBS will support companies that are accepted by providing mentors, visibility and engagement around business opportunities that emerge from this programme. You’ll also have the collective resources of Nest, both during the programme and afterwards.
Is a participating company’s product or service guaranteed to be endorsed by DBS?
No, there are no guarantees. It’s entirely at DBS’ discretion as to whether a participating company’s product or service is taken on and endorsed by DBS.
What is Nest?
Nest is the leading full-service innovation accelerator platform in Hong Kong, providing seed capital and expertise to entrepreneurs, and empowering startups throughout Asia with a wide range of services.
Why did DBS partner with Nest on this programme?
DBS Accelerator is a ‘powered by Nest’ programme. This will be run by a dedicated team to help bring innovative business ideas to market. DBS has teamed up with Nest for its third year to run a unique model of mentorship, intense development and world-class demo days.