Hong Leong Bank picks startups for pilot projects


HLB’s group managing director and CEO Domenic Fuda (pic) said this year’s launch pad was special, as it was searching for startups who were adopting an agile mindset and thinking ahead of the imminent challenges of a post-pandemic era.

PETALING JAYA: Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLB) have chosen three startups – Food Market Hub, Pay:Watch and ERTH (e-Waste Recycling Through Heroes) to work with on pilot projects.

In a statement, it said these projects will address food security, the gig economy and e-waste management respectively in the next six months.

The main objective is to cultivate a vibrant and competitive startup community that will disrupt, innovate and bring fresh ideas and solutions to the market.

These startups are the winners of the third edition of HLB Launchpad 2020, a startup mentorship platform. The collaborators are Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, Cradle Fund, MaGIC, Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) and pitchIN.

HLB said this year’s launch pad theme “Reboot: Thriving together in the new normal” was to identify startups with innovative solutions that were digital, adaptable and sustainable to help Malaysians adapt and thrive in this new and next normal.

HLB’s group managing director and CEO Domenic Fuda said this year’s launch pad was special, as it was searching for startups who were adopting an agile mindset and thinking ahead of the imminent challenges of a post-pandemic era.

The winner, Food Market Hub is an F&B ecosystem provider that integrates the entire value chain of farm-to-restaurant. It uses disruptive technology to take traditional F&B procurement process to the next level, such as using predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to forecast demand as a means to increase food security and reduce food waste in the country.

The first runner-up Pay:Watch is a startup that partners with employers and banks to provide gig workers instant access to earned wages, in real time, before pay day. The “instant pay” feature allows gig workers to instantly withdraw or top up prepaid cards from earned wages.

Second runner-up ERTH is a startup that offers an electronic waste recycling service that buys end-of-life personal electronics such as PCs, laptops and smartphones, for recycling.

This service will be beneficial for the environment as the home-centric culture and lifestyle due to the pandemic has seen a proliferation of electronic devices being purchased and used. ERTH offers free pick-up service and pay higher prices for e-waste than public recycling centres due to their unique accelerated supply chain from consumer to recovery.

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