Swiss F10 accelerator announces call as industry addresses ESG issues

Rick Steves

Sustainable finance has become one of the leading topics in today’s trading industry. Green tech accelerator programs are flourishing as market participants must take action to address social, environmental, and governance issues which have increasingly become deal breakers for investors and targets for regulators.

The F10 Acceleration Program, which connects startups with corporate partners SIX, SDX, Julius Baer, Baloise, Generali HITS, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, Zürcher Kantonalbank, TX Group, and PwC, is inviting fintech projects for its next program running from September to November 2021.

Selected growth-stage startups focusing on Sustainable Finance and SME Services will be able to accelerate collaborations with its corporate partners as well as with close to 100 of our most experienced mentors and subject matter experts from companies like SIX, Tomahawk VC, BV Ventures, Capco, Falcon PB and more.

Gerrit Sindermann, Country Success Lead at F10 Switzerland, said: “The Acceleration Program focuses on supporting open innovation efforts of our corporate partners and on helping post-seed, post-revenue startups bring fundraising and customer development to the next level. The program closing event we always open to the wider ecosystem and invite investors and corporates internationally.

“We see enormous potential for innovation within Sustainable Finance and SME Services and are excited to meet disruptive startups in that space,” adds Gerrit Sindermann.

More than 130 FinTech and InsurTech startups have participated in F10 programs globally since 2016, in which collaboration includes 360-degree evaluations, a playbook, and 1:1 coaching.

The acceleration program has just graduated its second ESG-focused batch during an online startup showcase with 275 high-profile attendees, most from the investor and corporate space.

The event included an investor panel on early growth stage startups and leveraged an event platform specifically designed to build valuable networking connections.

Last week, Singapore’s financial watchdog MAS has invited all fintechs across the globe to apply for its green tech accelerator with the aim to solve at least one of the three proposed key challenges: (i) Mobilising Capital; (ii) Monitoring Commitment; and (iii) Measuring Impact.

Fintechs must submit applications by 11 June 2021 as the competition seeks to unlock the potential of FinTech in accelerating the development of green finance in Singapore and the region.

Sponsored by Oliver Wyman, the accelerator calls for fintech firms and solution providers around the world to submit innovative solutions to address over 50 problem statements that have been collected from financial institutions and green finance industry players.

The 15 finalists will be paired with a Corporate Champion, where they will develop customized prototypes on the API Exchange (APIX), with each finalist receiving a S$20,000 cash stipend and becoming eligible for a fast-tracked application for the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme Proof-of-Concept Grant of up to S$200,000.

Up to three winners will be selected at the Demo Day held at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival after pitches from the 15 finalists. Winners will each be awarded S$50,000 in prize money.

ESG has become one of the main topics being addressed by governments, regulators, academia, technology providers, and capital markets.

Industry leaders have been increasingly calling for a global framework for ESG investing as the sector faces a massive uptick of inflows and, at the same time, faces accusations of inconsistency in their approach to sustainable impactful investments.

The dramatic increase of inflows into the sector from both retail and institutional investors has shown how important the issue has become nowadays, with an increased focus on healthy ecosystems and sustainability of supply chains.

As the trend is unlikely to slow down in a post-pandemic world and that recent research points to ESG investments outperforming their counterparts, the regulatory landscape must reflect the situation and catch up to this new trend as there remains a lack of consistency in definitions and data.

A global regulatory framework for ESG investing would provide greater protections for those investors who are looking for profits with purpose and will also help to reduce ‘greenwashing’ – when an investment or company gives an inaccurate impression over its green, socially responsible, or corporate credentials.

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