Standard Chartered Bank has announced the official opening of its Africa eXellerator lab, an innovation hub that will serve as a platform to collaborate with fintechs in Kenya and the broader African region, drive innovation and develop new business models or services to meet client needs in the Africa region. This furthers adds to the Bank’s other eXellerator labs located in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and San Francisco.
Powered by SC Ventures, the Bank’s innovation, ventures and investment unit, the Africa eXellerator lab has been established at the Bank’s Kenya head office in Chiromo, Nairobi, where fintechs can closely workshop new technologies and solutions.
Speaking during the launch of the Africa eXellerator, Standard Chartered Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, Kariuki Ngari, said: “We are a connector bank – connecting clients, markets and products with networks and facilitating trade and investment across our global footprint across some of the fastest growing markets. We are establishing an innovation centre in Kenya – the Africa eXellerator lab, to develop better products and services for our clients. For example, we will focus on developing solutions in artificial intelligence, cyber security and ‘Banking Made Easy’, to ensure we provide the best possible services to our clients of today, and tomorrow.”
Speaking at the same launch event, Global Head, SC Ventures, Alex Manson, said: “Banking is all about serving clients in the way they want to be served. We are rewiring the DNA in banking both in and outside the Bank, including an extended team of partners as good ideas and great execution come from everywhere. Our eXellerators provide the tools and environment to develop, experiment and validate new ideas and business models emerging from both our own intrapreneurs and our partners.”
SC Ventures’ Africa Region Lead, Kennedy Mubita, said: “The Africa eXellerator’s key mission is to generate value by emulating intrapreneurial, human centred and technology skills across the Bank’s franchise in Africa. The high digital adoption rate and vibrant fintech ecosystem, coupled with our strong client franchise, make for an exciting landscape for client co-creation, partnerships and innovation in Kenya, which will have applications across the Africa region.”
Standard Chartered has been co-creating solutions and establishing new partnerships to improve client experience and change how we approach and think about banking. Following the successful pilot launch of its digital retail bank in Côte d’Ivoire last year, the Bank has further rolled out digital-only retail banks across Africa this year, in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya. Most recently, the Bank announced the establishment of a joint venture with PCCW, HKT and Ctrip Finance to deliver a new standalone digital retail bank in Hong Kong.
It also announced it will be launching an open platform for Small and Medium Enterprises in India, to help them grow by providing access to a range of financial and business solutions, as well as the SC Ventures Fintech Bridge, a market-first online platform, through which the Bank seeks partnerships with fintechs to solve business challenges.