HatchX, Sri Lanka’s first fintech startup accelerator programme, recently concluded its demo day with its first cohort of 7 promising local fintech startups graduating from the programme and getting connected with several industry stakeholders. The goal of HatchX is to help local fintech startups find success by offering them the necessary support to grow and expand their businesses beyond Sri Lanka. The seven startups accepted were DirectPay, Smart Insure, Fipbox.com, HeliosP2P, iLoan, Algoredge, and OGO Pay.
An initiative by Hatch in partnership with the Lankan Angel Network and funded by the Ford Foundation, HatchX was the first virtual startup accelerator programme in South Asia and was launched in April 2020, during the lockdown period.
The startups were selected based on their business maturity, positive traction and each of their abilities to be a viable business both commercially and as an investment potential. HatchX offered an intensive 4-month curriculum geared towards three primary components of business support, education, and investor-readiness through a programme structure, curriculum, and advisory platform specifically designed by Programme Director of HatchX, Nio Liyanage. Alongside this, the programme offered access to banks, financial institutions, and networks. These efforts supported the startups in developing their businesses in a short span of time versus over many years if they had done so traditionally without having access to these opportunities.
Reflecting on the success of HatchX, Programme Director Nio Liyanage said, “A programme like this had never been conducted before. We expected many challenges in the early days. But we were able to quickly adapt the programme to operate in a virtual environment utilising digital platforms like Zoom. Furthermore, there was a strong buy-in from the enthusiastic founders accepted who clearly saw the value of HatchX. With their support and of industry stakeholders, we were able to successfully conduct South Asia’s 1st virtual accelerator.”
At the formal conclusion of the demo day, the 7 startups showcased their potential in front of the investors and industry stakeholders. It also offered the startups accepted a chance to network with stakeholders and form connections that could create new opportunities to collaborate. It makes financial services more accessible and improve quality of life for unbanked and underbanked populations of Sri Lanka and across the region. Hatch continues to offer support and guidance to the 7 promising fintech startups.
Describing how Hatch would continue to support these startups, Programme Manager Sanchitha Silva said, “While the formal programme has ended, the 7 startups accepted into the HatchX programme are also members of the wider Hatch community. Currently, we’ve offered them long-term mentoring support from industry experts to help them scale. As they grow, we’ll assist them in obtaining capital and connect with stakeholders that can help with their long-term plans to expand their footprints beyond Sri Lanka. Hatch will support them in every possible way to help them grow their businesses.”
Hatch is a platform that empowers the transformation of ideas into commercially viable companies. It is a space for innovation, growth and collaboration in Colombo. Hatch was born with the vision of an economy fuelled by high-potential startups that contribute to job growth and productivity.