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Fintech innovation in Singapore: a hive of activity

I just attended a digital bank bootcamp in Singapore.  It wasn’t much of a bootcamp.  For example, I volunteered to play the Sergeant Major’s role and shout at the audience: “stand up, stand up, get your digital gear on and start delivering, you lazy lackadaisical wunch of bankers” … I was told that was not needed however, and that I should be a little gentler.  After all, this is Singapore old chap.


So I complied – as a banker, I’m always for compliance – and purely gave my keynote and then listened to the other folks talking.  And they were good.  One particularly good moment was when Markus Gnirck, Global COO of Startupbootcamp Fintech, talked about the Singaporean Fintech startups. 

Startupbootcamp Fintech is run by my good friend Nektarios Liolios, formerly of the SWIFT innotribe, and nurtures new companies from embryos to teenagers.  In the Singapore office, they have 11 embryonic companies and five of these were showcased at the digital bank bootcamp (I’m starting to feel for Kinky bootcamp).

Here’s a very short overview of the five that were showcased.

Two are blockchain companies.

The first is Otonomos.  Created by a former Goldman Sachs executive, Han, the aim is to use the blockchain technologies to issue share certificates and provide a secure method of recording company incorporation.

According to Crunchbase’s description:

Otonomos is engineering the world’s first blockchain-chartered company, in which you hold your shares in the same way as owning bitcoins in a digital wallet.

When you form a BCC through Otonomos, you can transfer equity peer-to-peer to attract co-founders, remunerate collaborators, invite new private investors or get funding from the crowd at large.

No matter how dispersed your share ownership, their blockchain-native technology automatically updates your cap table and helps you govern your company using self-enforceable, smart contracts.

According to Han’s description, it’s all about digitalising a market full of paper.

The second blockchain related company is OnePay.

OnePay aims to be a global payment and loyalty platform based upon blockchains, and bringing the power of digital currencies to use at any retail store already accepting credit card via NFC.

There’s not much info about them out there right now – the website is pretty sparse – but you have to bear in mind that they are a startup.  I was impressed with the idea that they were going to reuse all the merchant terminals out there, and just replace the Visa and MasterCard network with an NFC-based blockchain system.  One to watch.

Two other startups were lending oriented.  One, KyePot, aims to provide a mobile centric saivngs and loans offer, whilst the other, Credit Seva, is a lending product for the underbanked and low credit worthy consumer.

Creditseva is an Indian loans system that uses a state-of-the-art algorithm and online integrated platform with banks to help instantly analyse credit reports and track credit scores, as well as obtaining discounted offers to close bad loans and get customised offers for new loans.

KyePot is a mobile centric community savings and lending platform that brings individuals together to achieve their financial goals using the collective power of the individual, group and the community.

Finally, there was an online wealth management system called Dragon Wealth.  Dragon Wealth offers a fast way for financial advisors in South East Asia to increase sales and acquire more investors through two easy-to-use mobile apps, alongside an automated suite of marketing tools connecting financial advisors with new investors.

Startupbootcamp Fintech found several other Singaporean innovators the other week, when they held their first round of seed funding days, including:

BankguardBankguard provides a revolutionary 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) solution which addresses weaknesses in current technologies that are vulnerable to Man In The Middle (MITM) attacks.

KashmiKashmi is a mobile application that allows you to make real-time payments while you socialize and communicate with friends.

Open Trade Docs: OTDocs certifies online identities and documents. Allowing trusted collaboration, OTDocs increases workflow efficiency for businesses involved in international trade.

ShereIt: ShereIt makes share trading easy. It is a Social Trading platform that helps non-professional investors identify expert traders, follow them and copy their trades/actions. 

SkolaFund: Skolafund is a web platform that enables university students to crowdfund their scholarship from the public & corporates. More products will be rolled out as SkolaFund aims to be the biggest higher education financing platform in Asia.

Toast: TOAST allows unbanked Filipino workers in Singapore to send cash back to the Philippines without having to spend hours queuing at Western Union.

And that really does show that Fintech is hot, hot, hot, and not just in London and New York but all around the world.  Keep watching this space.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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