The first quarter of 2017 was a slow quarter for fintech investment in Singapore, with a total of four deals at US$14.3 million, according to KPMG.
Although marked considerably by outliers, the Singapore fintech scene still enjoys hefty comparative advantages within the region as a whole, ranging from regulatory aspects to geographic positioning and talent access.
MAS is aggressively promoting and marketing Singapore as a fintech hub for the Asia market – working with startups and global corporates to develop and fund fintech activities, and with numerous international regulators to bridge regulatory barriers.
(Fintech Global Summit 2017 at LATTICE80)
Over the next few quarters, AI is expected to gain traction in Singapore, particularly on the digital labour front due to the country’s small size. Machine learning, compliance, financial inclusion and robo-advisory are also expected to attract more attention.
According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017:
PwC’s report adds that to address regulatory challenges, MAS is at the forefront by working with the industry through its Regulatory Sandbox so that new technologies can be experimented while minimising risks to consumers.
Additionally, a national KYC Utility is being piloted to streamline the verification of personal details for opening accounts and conducting transactions online.
To keep track of all of Singapore’s fintech startups, the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) launched an online directory in July 2017. The database, aggregated by MEDICI through secondary research and analysis, contains a short description of each company and information on its founding team, funding status, and business model.
Data compiled by Marvelstone Group (from sources including SFA and CrunchBase) find a total of 326 fintech startups in Singapore across the following categories:
LATTICE80 Appoints Former Singapore Managing Director of ANZ Bank as Advisor
SINGAPORE, Jun 19, 2017 — LATTICE80, the world’s largest fintech hub wholly owned and run by private investment firm Marvelstone Group, has appointed Vinay Agrawal to its board of advisors. Vinay is an accomplished banking professional with over 27 years of Asian banking experience across Asia Pacific and Middle East region. He will be advising LATTICE80 on a range of issues, primarily around how to expand the hub network globally to bridge Asian fintechs with the rest of the world.
Vinay worked with ANZ Bank for eight years based in Singapore. As Managing Director for the Bank’s Corporate and Institutional Banking, he was involved in the setup and significant growth of their platform in Asia Pacific. Prior to ANZ, Vinay worked in Standard Chartered Bank for 19 years. With these two institutions he worked in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bahrain and India.
Joe Seunghyun Cho, CEO of LATTICE80, said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Vinay to our board of advisors. He brings with him a strong network in the startup ecosystem across the region thanks to his connections with funding platforms, venture capital firms, accelerators, angel groups, large-and-medium-size corporations and private equity. As such, we think he’s a perfect fit for LATTICE80 and look forward to working with him closely in future.”
Vinay Agrawal, Member of the Board of Advisors at LATTICE80, said: “I’m delighted to join LATTICE80’s advisory board. Through my years in the industry, I have developed a deep understanding of the financial services sector and deal making experience across capital markets, lending and trade finance, corporate finance, risk management, as well as fixed income and derivative markets.”
He added: “With strong skills in managing complex businesses, I bring with me a critical understanding of how to build ‘business value’. With this senior leadership experience and perspective, I hope to be in an excellent position to provide strategic insight and advice that will serve LATTICE80 and its various upcoming companies in the fintech space.”
Vinay is on the mentoring panel of Supply Chain Angels (SCA) and is a member of the Business Angel Network of South East Asia (BANSEA). He also serves as a Board Member & Hon. Treasurer for Heartware Network, a Singapore based not-for-profit charity that creates training and volunteer opportunities for youth. Since inception, it has engaged 59,000 youth volunteers.
LATTICE80 and Nordic Finance Innovation Partner to Bridge Asia and the Nordic’s Fintech Ecosystems
LATTICE80, the world’s largest fintech hub wholly owned and operated by private investment firm Marvelstone Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nordic Finance Innovation (NFI) based on a mutual agenda of promoting innovation in financial services in their respective markets. LATTICE80 and NFI believe that through cooperation with each other they will be able to bridge the fintech ecosystems between Asia and the Nordics. Chris Skinner, Chairman of NFI, will be actively involved in overseeing the partnership.
The agreement will include six broad benefits to each party: raising awareness of fintech potential between Asia and the Nordics (including via online platform The Fintech Brief by NFI – www.thefintechbrief.com); office space sharing; events collaboration; in-country exclusivity (LATTICE80 and NFI will be exclusive fintech hub partners in their respective markets, i.e. Norway and Singapore); exchange programs for members; and the leveraging of mutual contacts and networks. The agreement is effective immediately.
Joe Seunghyun Cho, CEO of LATTICE80 and Chairman of Marvelstone Group, said: “We are delighted to join forces with NFI, our first partner in Europe, in our mutual ambition of bridging the fintech ecosystems between the Nordics and Asia. I’ve been working closely with the NFI team recently and it’s a pleasure to be able to assist each other on this journey. We look forward too welcoming fintech startups from the Nordics to Singapore and our other hubs in Asia, and vice versa – we are certain our fintech startups in Asia will be thrilled by the opportunity to experience the Nordic culture, business and regulatory environment, and networking opportunities.”
Iren Tranvåg, CEO at NFI, said: “Nordic Finance Innovation wants to build global bridges together with LATTICE80 to strengthen our relationship with the Asian market by being present, through exchange programs, organizing common events and sharing knowledge about the fintech developments that are shaping the future. We believe that there is a good match when it comes to business culture combined with a drive force to innovate. With these characteristics, they may be used to cooperate as a test environment for new services and provide access to the wider markets of Nordic and ASEAN respectively.”
The Nordic region’s future as a fintech hub shows great potential. According to the Innovation Delivered: Fintech Disruptors 2017 Report sponsored by DNB, 72 per cent of respondents expect the Nordic region to be the world’s leading hub by 2020. Meanwhile, 42 per cent of Nordic financial institutions surveyed want to expand their existing partnerships with fintech firms in addition to the 74 per cent that want to create new partnerships, a finding that suggests a healthy relationship between banks and fintechs. Finally, 42 per cent of Nordic banks surveyed also intend to set up fintech incubators, nearly double the 24 per cent of banks seeking to create incubators across the rest of Europe.
Singapore is widely seen as one of the world’s leading fintech hub alongside London and New York. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently set up a regulatory sandbox framework for the testing of fintech innovations in a more free, safe, and controlled environment. On the development side, MAS organized the Singapore Fintech Festival, the world’s first large-scale gathering of various fintech players, and has committed S$225 million (US$162.5 million) over the next five years to attract fintechs to set up their innovation labs in Singapore. Various grants and schemes are available for fintechs to tap on.
The leading minds of Singapore’s financial technology (fintech) ecosystem came together yesterday in a tour-de-force of discussions centering around the most innovative technologies disrupting Asia’s financial services sector.
FinTech Global Summit Singapore 2017, organised by private investment firm Marvelstone Group and held at LATTICE80 fintech hub in Singapore’s central business district, took place just a stone’s throw from the regional headquarters of some of Asia’s and the world’s largest financial institutions.
The full day of talks attracted an audience of hundreds from the heart of the financial and technology community, with high-profile stakeholders from both the public and private sector turning out in force to gain insight into Asia’s rapidly-evolving fintech landscape.
Attendees from GIC, Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX), Singapore FinTech Association, among other leading financial bodies came to network and listen. Also in attendance was regional news media from ChannelNews Asia, The Straits Times, The Business Times, Nikkei Asian Review, Inc Southeast Asia, Deal Street Asia, e27, and Coconuts Media.
Topics tabled for panel discussion included raising capital (crowdfunding versus venture capital), Big Data, the rise of robo-investors, mobile payments, cybersecurity, and the regulatory environment.
In their panel on Mobile Payments and Transfers, Namrata Jolly (Regional Head of Digital Customer Engagement & Experience at Citibank) discussed the topic at length with Eric Barbier (Founder and CEO of TransferTo), Jessica Chen (Globalization Lead at TransferWise), and Ravi Patel (Founder & CEO at YoloPay).
Meanwhile, in a panel on New Regulatory Measures, Samuel Hall (Progam Director at Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore) dove into detail with Omar Rana (Co-Founder of Finalytix), Aditya Khurjekar (CEO of LTP), Adrian Fisher (Counsel at Linklaters Singapore), and Samuel Yuen (Founding Director at Yuen Law LLC).
“Fostering a strong sense of community within the fintech world has always been the vision behind Marvelstone Group’s activities,” said Gina Heng, CEO of Marvelstone Group.
“We started off as a private equity business at the core, but soon dived into complementary businesses to facilitate the building of knowledge, relationships and strength,” said Joe Seunghyun Cho, Chairman of Marvelstone Group.
“This, I believe, will provide enhanced value to our partners, investors, companies we invest in, and other key stakeholders. FinTech Global Summit in Singapore is a culmination of all these ideas and we are extremely pleased to have brought the ecosystem together in this way,” he added.
The event was held in partnership with IBM, Osborne Clarke, Spark Systems, JEDTrade, TransferTo and Finalytix. Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) supported the summit as a strategic partner, while LTP was the knowledge partner and Deal Street Asia the media partner.
SINGAPORE & ANDHRA PRADESH, Mar. 9, 2017 — Marvelstone Group, the private investment group behind the world’s largest fintech hub LATTICE80, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Andhra Pradesh in India to open the first LATTICE80 location outside of Singapore. LATTICE80 Vizag will be located in Fintech Valley Vizag’s Fintech Tower. As the largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Vizag is already becoming home to some of India’s most innovative startup companies in the financial services space and beyond.
As part of the agreement, LATTICE80 will run training programmes to train 1,000 ICT professionals in India every year. The goal is to help link the community in Singapore and India, and encourage co-innovation in key new technologies such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, Big Data, flexible platforms (API), and more. The new space is expected to open in Q3 this year.
“Less than four months ago, in November last year, we set up LATTICE80 in Singapore to fully support the government’s smart nation vision to transform into a smart financial centre. Now, we are happy to be part of the new Vizag-MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) partnership to support Fintech Valley Vizag and the Government of Andhra Pradesh in India. The goal is to bring together industry, academia and investors to innovate, co-create and build the fintech ecosystem,” said Gina Heng, CEO, Marvelstone Group.
“We see opportunities in Vizag to contribute in various ways. We are delighted to collaborate and launch LATTICE80 Vizag to benefit the fintech sector in India. By launching LATTICE80 Vizag, we want to facilitate knowledge sharing and establish partnerships between universities based in and affiliated to Singapore and Andhra Pradesh,” said Joe Seunghyun Cho, Chairman, Marvelstone Group.
“LATTICE80’s success will depend on the people and community that we bring together. With Singapore as our base, we hope to reach out to new markets for fintech startups to develop and collaborate. We are very happy to start our overseas journey with amazing fintech startups and partners. We thank the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Vizag Fintech Valley for giving us the opportunity to learn and grow together,” said Joel Ko, Managing Partner, Marvelstone Group.
India’s fintech market is forecast to be worth US$2.4 billion by 2020, a two-fold increase on the market size in 2016, according to KPMG. The state of Andhra Pradesh has the potential of 50 million fintech users, according to data cited by Fintech Valley Vizag.
“The Andhra Pradesh Government is not merely trying to create the right ecosystem for promoting fintech in the state, but to develop a whole fintech culture. It wants to conduct a series of events to promote fintech in the city and the state. LATTICE80 will help the government in the endeavour,” said J A Chowdary, special adviser to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister on IT.
The LATTICE80 philosophy is based on the physical structure of a lattice. It represents an open framework where companies can build upon one another’s strengths. LATTICE80’s objectives include helping fintech startups grow and expand their businesses, supporting existing corporates and financial institutions in their adoption of innovation, and serving as a bridge for both the public and private sectors.
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Feels like we have been through a labyrinth, trying to navigate the complex global financial regulatory landscape, overcoming the high barriers to entry and finding the right business model. B2B, B2C, B2B2C – speak no more! Glad that’s over!
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Markus Gnirck (https://twitter.com/mgnirck)
Co-Founder & Managing Director tryb Capital
tryb Capital (http://www.tryb.asia/) invests in financial technology companies with the ability to transform financial services in the ASEAN region. It provides growth and expansion capital to private, high-growth businesses at or near profitability whose proprietary and commercially viable technologies can be adopted by financial institutions to improve top line growth, reduce costs or increase efficiencies.
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BankersLab Pte. Ltd. is instigating a paradigm change in the financial industry towards a technology and data-driven era of compliance, excellence and workforce transformation. We build ‘virtual world’ training simulations for FinTech lenders and bankers. Lenders can certify and monitor employee skills by observing how they apply their knowledge: the ‘gold standard’ for skills monitoring and assessment. This fully digital simulation platform has billions of possible outcomes, and is configurable for every skill level across all functional areas of consumer lending.
BankersLab was established in Singapore in 2013 and in Q4 2016 launched its latest product – a fully digital simulation platform, PortfolioQuest.
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BankersLab bootstrapped from Chiang Mai, Thailand since 2012, utilizing a hybrid model of SaaS and professional services. Although we have achieved success training bankers from over 45 countries, our reliance on the professional services component has limited our scaling. Thanks to support from the Singapore Investor community and ecosystem, we went live in October 2016 with a fully digital and scalable version of the platform. To support the scaling and growth phase, we moved in LATTICE80 in November 2016.
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