Axis Bank first in India to launch innovation lab, Thought Factory
India’s third largest private sector bank, Axis Bank, has launched a new innovation lab, becoming the first domestic bank to do so in India.
Dubbed “Thought Factory”, the lab is aimed at accelerating the development of innovative technology solutions for the banking sector and is expected to work closely with the start-up community.
Thought Factory is located in the country’s IT hub, Bengaluru, and features an in-house team and a dedicated three-month long accelerator programme.
The bank plans to launch an application for the first cohort of the “Axis Accelerator” and reach out to start-up hubs across India through road shows.
Rajiv Anand, executive director, retail banking at Axis Bank, describes the project as “an endeavour to build on the ideas of innovators that can radically change consumers’ life in banking and beyond”.
Axis Bank has partnered with Zone Startups to run the accelerator programme.
The short-listed participants “will be taken through a structured mentorship programme for fine-tuning, validating and scaling their business”, the bank says.
At the end of the programme, an investor day will be organised, to facilitate funding for the shortlisted start-ups.
Axis Bank might itself invest in selected start-ups, before the investor day.
The bank says it is also working with Nasscom 10k, various technology and VC partners, global banks and academia “to create a vibrant ecosystem which transcends beyond India”.
In addition, Axis Bank has launched the “Hack for Hire” programme to identify talent through hackathons for the in-house innovation team at the Thought Factory.
This initiative highlights the growing interest of banks in the fintech space. Earlier this month, State Bank of India (SBI) announced the launch of a $30 million fund for fintech start-ups in the country.
By Soumik Roy, editorial contributor to Banking Technology