Singapore’s vibrant startup ecosystem, supportive government, stable financial system and business-friendly tax regime, have helped turn the city-state into an attractive spot for fintech entrepreneurs.
Singapore has made fintech a high priority as it intends to keep its leading position as a global financial center. Singapore, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in particular, have deployed a number of initiatives aimed at developing the domestic tech scene, boosting fintech innovation, and helping startups collaborate with banks.
Notable initiatives include the “regulatory sandbox,” which allows financial services ventures to experiment and test fintech solutions under less stringent laws; the upcoming Fintech Festival, a five-day event entirely dedicated to fintech; MAS’ new Fintech and Innovation Group and Fintech Office; as well as a set of rulings aimed at easing the current requirements for financial intermediaries and fintechs.
“If you start regulating every one of those, you stifle a lot of innovation, and they don’t get a change to grow,” Ravi Menon, MAS’ managing director, said in April. “So only when [fintechs] grow and reach a certain critical mass, which then poses a significant impact on the system, or it can affect a large number of consumers, then we step in to regulate. It’s always a fine balance.”
Alongside the public sector, the private sector, too, has been busy putting up effort for developing the local fintech landscape.
DBS Bank and MasterCard are both involved in the notorious Startupbootcamp Fintech Accelerator program, which boosts ten startups each year and polishing them until they are ready to work with banks.
Today, Singapore has undeniably the most vibrant fintech scene in Southeast Asia with a number of ventures emerging as regional leaders.
Payments Startups Singapore
In the payments sub-segment, fastacash is one of the region’s top startups having raised over US$23 million in venture capital so far. Founded in 2012, the company has developed a global social payments platform that allows users to transfer value along with digital content through social networks and messaging platforms.
Another player worth mentioning is MatchMove Pay, one of Singapore’s fastest growing fintechs. Founded in 2009, MatchMove Pay is an award-winning startup that focuses on online payments and mobile payments technologies. Its flagship product is its virtual payment card targeted at Southeast Asia’s low credit card penetration.
Wealth management and personal finance Startups Singapore
Founded in 2013, Mesitis is a venture that develops solutions for the private wealth market. The company currently offers three products: Canopy, an account aggregation and reporting platform; Bento, a robo-advisory service; and Conduit Securities, an agency-only execution provider specializing in global equity and fixed income markets.
In personal finance, TradeHero, the developer of MyHero, offers a social and gamified mobile app aimed at democratizing stock trading. The free stock market simulation app draws real-world data from stock exchanges to create a global social investment network.
Shereit, on the other hand, is a social trading network which provides users with a platform to interact, through live trades and instant messaging with other traders around the world.
One portal that has gained much popularity in recent years is MoneySmart, a service that provides users with management tools for personal finance, financial advising and a comparison service for products that include loans, insurance and credit cards.
Blockchain technology Startups Singapore
As the world’s largest banks are exploring blockchain technology, the so-called “trust machine,” for use in the financial industry, others are seeing potential in non-financial applications.
One Singaporean startup, Open Trade Docs, has developed a blockchain-based technology for trade finance, allowing for paper documents to be digitalized, securely stored on a digital ledger, and accessible to all participants, while reducing the risk of error, bottleneck and fraud.
Otonomos, on the other hand, seeks to disrupt the way businesses are incorporated, administered and funded. Otonomos is engineering the world’s first blockchain-chartered company, in which shareholders hold their shares in the same way as owning bitcoins in a digital wallet.
Finally, Digix Global aims at disrupting the gold industry by using tokenization and blockchain technology to facilitate the purchase, selling and exchange of precious metals. The company provides users with digital tokens that are representative of a certain amount of gold or silver.
Other startups worth mentioning include insurtech ventures PolicyPal, a platform that allows users to manage their policies in one place, and FitSense, a startup working with insurance companies to reduce premiums for any with a smartphone or wearable; InvoiceInterchange is a peer-to-peer invoice trading market place that allows businesses to auction their outstanding invoices; Call Levels, an award-winning fintech app that provides users with a simple tool to track their financial assets; Ripple Singapore, a Ripple gateway that uses the Ripple network to acquire, store ad convert precious metals into national currencies; as well as crowdfunding platforms FundedHere, which specializes in equity and lending-based crowdfunding, and CoAssets, Asia’s first listed crowdfunding platform focusing on real estate investments.
Consult the full list of Singapore’s 30 hottest fintech startups HERE: