The state has cannily homed on a niche in IT services, that is underserved in India
By V. Sudhakshina in Visakhapatnam
March,15 2017: FinTech -- financial technology -- is one vertical that gained maximum advantage due to the recent demonetization move by the Government of India. The unavailability of cash led majority of the population, not just in cities but also in many rural parts, to go cashless and become more open towards digital transactions.
Tapping this opportunity at the right time and encouraging the digitization wave in the country currently, the Andhra Pradesh government recently announced the creation of the first dedicated hub for financial technology in Visakhapatnam (Vizag), the FinTech Valley. This initiative will bring together industry, academia and investors to innovate, co-create and build the Fintech ecosystem in India.
The state government also held its first Fintech Valley Spring Conference 2017 in Vizag, which saw a mix of government officials, industry leaders, international delegations, investors, start-ups, entrepreneurs and academia attending the event.
The A.P. government signed MoUs with nine investors including, AntHill Ventures, Pearson, Forum Synergies, Hyderabad Angels, etc. Earlier this month, it had already announced partnership with Visa and Thomson Reuters for digital payment solutions and information on Fintech based innovations, respectively.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu said via satellite link: “The Fintech Valley Spring Conference is our step in joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT). In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cyber security companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to this sector."
In his keynote. J.A. Chowdary said, “FinTech is seeing a 12.6 percent annual growth globally and we thought of having a Fintectonic shift by creating the Fintech Valley. We believe that this is one area where we need to concentrate as it will take care of the techtonic shift happening currently in the world.”
Through this initiative they are looking at creating manpower, industry-academia linkage, and adopt educational institutions and universities to have a specialized curriculum under this technology.
“A lot of negative growth is happening in the IT industry in terms of employment. Automation is taking away many jobs and no new jobs are being created. So we had to plan and think about new technologies where the youth coming out of colleges will find employment. One area that will create new jobs could be FinTech. Today it combines three major technologies, Cyber-Security, Analytics, and BlockChain. If we are able to get the for these three technologies then we will be able to create new job opportunities for the youth coming out of colleges,” added Chowdary.
The government is also planning to tie-up with six educational institutions to introduce FinTech based courses and a specific curriculum. GITHAM University, Nobel Institute of Technology, Anantha Lakshmi Institute of Technology and Sciences, Lankapalli Bullayya College, Gayatri Vidya Parishad, and PVKK Institute of Technology would set centers of excellence and help in skill building for FinTech.
The Andhra Pradesh government has also partnered with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), who will support in creating education programmes and curricula relating to fintech and also facilitate creation of a marketplace.
Apart from employment the FinTech Valley is also planning to boost start-ups in that vertical. Amongst the 45 exhibitors, many were start-ups with solutions around cloud security, treasury management, digital payment solutions, digital identification and tracking system etc. The conference also hosted a start-up challenge and prize money of Rs. 5 lakhs and one year free office space was provided in the Fintech Tower in Vizag to the winner.
Within a month of its inauguration the Fintech Tower is already active with 200 working professionals and housing companies like PayTM, Broadridge, ValueLabs, etc. At the facility, the government is providing free infrastructure and high speed Internet connectivity for six months.