FWD Insurance announced the launch of the FWD Start-Up Studio to support insurtech and takafultech startups in Malaysia, with seed funding of RM1.2 million over two years.
The studio aims to build a new talent pool for insurance technology and help streamline the relationship between FWD, emerging startups and adjacent technologies in Malaysia.
With this in mind, the Studio has teamed up with 1337 Ventures, a Malaysia-based business accelerator, to launch a four-week pre-accelerator programme.
This will give them access to the studio’s mentorship programme, FWD workshops with coaching on areas such as design thinking and an insurtech 101 and immerse into the vibrant Malaysian insurtech network.
FWD is now inviting applications for the first cohort of intakes which starts in April while a second cohort will open later in the year with two more slated for 2022.
This will be open to 25 startups in the first round, coming with the opportunity to accelerate towards a minimum viable product (MVP) and commercially partner with FWD.
FWD will be investing RM150k each to two winners on the pre-accelerator programme and allocate further funding for high potential startups from seed to pre-series A.
Startups will have the opportunity to create a proof of concept, working alongside FWD. There is also a possibility for them to co-create further high-potential ventures with the insurer.
Additionally, the startups will also receive up to US$100k of cloud credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The programme will be a springboard into the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) which gives startups a “green lane” when applying for the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS).
“At FWD we put digital technology, data analytics and AI at the heart of insurance. We’re known and recognised for our innovation, and this initiative dovetails into our strategy to partner with the best talent to develop the best new technologies.
Our team is especially keen to work with start-ups in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing.”
said Sim Preston, Group Chief Operating Officer of FWD.
“We are delighted to be at the helm of this exciting new venture in Malaysia as we see innovation studios and brand accelerators spring up across all industry categories.
The launch of the Studio further underlines our continued confidence and commitment to the Malaysian market. By tapping into Malaysia’s growing fintech ecosystem, we stand a better chance of closing the insurance protection gap in Malaysia and beyond.”
said Binayak Dutta, Managing Director (Emerging Markets) and Group Chief Distribution Officer of FWD.