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FinTech Valley to Increase Growth Avenues in the State Of Andhra Pradesh

Government of AP (GoAP) intends to collaborate with global and Indian leaders who share their vision of being pioneers in building a strong, all encompassing fintech ecosystem.

FinTech Valley in Vizag is a self-sustainable global FinTech ecosystem that focuses on converging finance and technology to create large avenues of growth through industry-enablers, world-class infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation says, J A Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary & IT Advisor to the Chief Minister, Govt of Andhra Pradesh.

1. Please share with us a brief about Fintech Valley?

In a world where everything is impacted by technology – from individual lives to entire business sectors, banking and financial services is not immune to these forces. India is now on the cusp of a new epoch in financial services; which is taking shape concurrently with the Fourth Industrial Revolution – defined by the convergence of the physical and cybernetic worlds, and digital technologies.

Digital revolution is transforming the behavior of customers and access to financial products and services. These factors are defining fintech – formed at the intersection of financial services and technology sectors. The Indian fintech software market is forecast to touch USD 2.4 billion by 2020 from a current USD 1.2 billion, as per NASSCOM. Hence, it is encouraging that technology-focused startups and new market entrants are formulating innovative solutions that would enable the traditional financial services industry to evolve rapidly. Fintech is disrupting the traditional value chain of financial institutions and economies across the world.

To support and leverage this momentum, and in a bid to transform the picturesque commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam, into a national and global hub for financial technology (fintech), the government of the state, under the dynamic leadership Chief Minister Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, is building a complete eco-system including fintech start-up entrepreneurs, innovators, incubators, investors and academia – Fintech Valley, Vizag.

The initiative supports the dynamic Chief Minister’s vision to create 5 lakh jobs in Andhra Pradesh (AP) by 2020 through technology-enabled services for bringing new age ideas that will shape the future through financial technology. Fintech Valley has made it easier, faster and cheaper to do business as it aspires to be an industry enabler for fintech around the world by bringing all the fintech ecosystem players in one place.

2. How this Fintech Valley is different from other incubation centers?

Fintech Valley in Vizag is a self-sustainable global fintech ecosystem that focuses on converging finance and technology to create large avenues of growth through industry-enablers, world-class infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation. Global financial services companies, government and academia come together in this valley to build capacity, infrastructure, market access, connectivity, funding channels, and incentive mechanisms to achieve unmatched business goals and successes. It provides more than just access to fintech technologies and innovators; enables an oasis in which cyber security, blockchain, digital education and research thrive using state of the art incubators and accelerators, innovation labs, expertise and mentoring, along with institutes that provide every individual and business with a unique set of opportunities to grow. Corporates too, are granted avenues as business disruptors in Fintech Valley through creation of networks with the government and private players for building capabilities, Center of Excellence (COE), investment opportunities and mentorship programmes.

To set a stage for financial and technological inclusion, the Andhra Pradesh government is facilitating access to free infrastructure for six months, free fiber (high speed internet) connectivity, and preferential market access to facilitate POCs of the start-ups. Additionally, the funds of funds strategy will be implemented soon.

3. How do you plan to attract investments from other countries like UAE, Europe and United States?

Government of AP (GoAP) intends to collaborate with global and Indian leaders who share their vision of being pioneers in building a strong, all encompassing fintech ecosystem.

An Advisory Council consisting of global and Indian thought leaders from the fintech sector will soon be headed by Chief Minister Naidu to handle funds and map out intricacies of the Fintech Valley. The partners are provided advisory services, assistance in setting up manufacturing facilities, infrastructure development, assistance in R&D and support for implementation of mutually beneficial projects by the state government.

The sustainable ecosystem offers human capacity from several technical universities and colleges that host incubation centers and R&D facilities. With government intervention, corporations have the opportunity to influence quality of future employees by advising institutions in areas of fintech, creating syllabi at various levels and developing networks of information sharing and that are aimed to benefit multiple channels in the industry.

Fintech Valley is further accessible by the international community through efforts of the state to develop policies and regulations that will encourage growth through incentives. By committing to improve the investment environment in the number one ranked state for ease of doing business, the state government is offering various business avenues and entry points to global investors from UAE, Europe and USA looking to ride the wave of change.

4. Please throw some light on MoU with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and GoAP signed an MOU on 22th October, 2016, agreeing to collaborate on the development of Educational Programmes and Curricula relating to fintech in their respective jurisdictions.

Under the MoU, the two parties aim to collaboratively nurture fintech start-ups and facilitate their growth. The primary mechanism for this objective would be through the development and support of COE in Vishakhapatnam that have been set up by the GoAP. The COE would house both Indian and Singaporean fintech start-ups. It would facilitate the provision of manpower and resource support to encourage an environment favorable for these start-ups to scale up their product development and custodian activities. Both parties would also assist in the creation of a marketplace for fintech solutions and the promotion of such solutions to banks, governments and other relevant audiences as per their terms of agreement.

MAS and GoAP share a mutual desire to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets. Through cooperation and resource sharing on innovations connected to financial services, the two parties aim to work towards identifying and executing potential joint innovation projects on the application of key technologies such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms (API) and other areas of new technologies.

5. Please share about any new MOU to be signed in the coming week.

Two new MOUs are to be signed by GoAP in the coming week with Visa, the American multinational financial services corporation and Thomson Reuters, the global mass media and information firm. The document is to be officially signed on Wednesday, 22nd February at JW Marriott Sahar, Mumbai in the presence of Chief Minister Mr. Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. J. A. Chowdary. Representing the corporations are Mr. Pradeep Lankapalli, Managing Director, Thomson Reuters and Mr. T. R. Ramachandran, Country Head, Visa.

6. How has been the response of start-ups towards this Fintech Valley?

In a month since its inauguration in Vizag, the newly developed Fintech Tower is already housing disruptive start-ups, with over 200 people currently working in Fintech Tower.

These include:

1. Paytm
2. Broadridge
3. Transaction Analyst
4. GMS
5. Value Labs
6. BlockTrust
7. Knolskape

In addition to start ups, GoAP has also partnered with 6 educational institutions that include GITAM (Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management) University, Noble Institute Of Technology, Anantha Lakshmi Institute of Science and Technology, Lankapalli Bullayya College, Gayatri Vidya Parishad and PVKK Institute of Technology. As a part of the MOU terms, these institutions have agreed to partner with GoAP in setting up the COE and to enable fintech ecosystem skill building.

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