AIA hopes to find the next big (wearable) thing with Nest

AIA is backing a 12-week accelerator programme to support innovative business and entrepreneurs looking to develop wearable and healthcare technologies.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between AIA and Nest, a Hong-Kong based investment incubator led by angel investor Simon Squibb, aiming to create opportunities for innovators across the region to shape the future of insurance and healthcare industries.

Start-ups with innovative ideas and technology about healthcare can apply for the programme and take advantage of the vast access to resources and mentoring that partnership has created.

Following the application review process, eight start-up companies will be offered a place on the accelerator programme.

The eight companies chosen will be guided through business growth and development with the help of business mentoring from AIA and Nest senior management, access to the AIA and Nest network of supporters and partners and long term potential equity investments.

Each company accepted into the AIA Accelerator program, will refine their business model, culminating in a Demo Day and Public Investor Demo Day in Hong Kong in June 2015.

Steve Monaghan, head of AIA innovations said, the accelerator programme is one of AIAs endeavours to promote innovation.

“As the leading pan-Asian life insurance group, AIA has a long and impressive record of business innovation spanning over 90 years in Asia Pacific," he said.

"AIA meets the ever-changing and increasing financial and protection needs of the people across the region by offering a wide range of products and services. We will continue to innovate across multiple disciplines to drive sustainable growth and to provide our customers with the right solutions.

Simon Squibb, CEO of NEST Investments, added that entrepreneurs often try to develop solutions to problems that are most relevant to their daily lives.

"Since healthcare and lifestyle are big on the priority list for people in Asia, we believe start-ups in this region are particularly well-placed to disrupt the future of industries like healthcare and insurance," he said.

This new partnership between NEST and AIA marks a powerful and unique opportunity for entrepreneurs in the region to get support from market leaders in Asia: including Richard Kelly, previously MD of IDEO China and now heading up innovation at Fung (1937), entrepreneur David Zhu who recently sold his startup Divide to Google for millions, to name but a few”

Startups have until 31 January 2015 to enter the program, which kicks off in March 2015 with the Demo Days scheduled for June 2015.