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Research and Innovation

Seven FinTech Startup Trends in Asia

 
February 11, 2016

Startupbootcamp FinTech recently held a FastTrack event in Mumbai hosted by TCS, one of 16 stops across Asia where the team met with early stage FinTech startups and key people on the ground to understand developments in the ecosystem.

SBC

TCS mentoring startups at the Startupbootcamp FinTech FastTrack

Through this series of events, we have made some interesting observations in the areas of financial solutions, digital wallets, data analytics, cyber security, and more. I’m sharing some key areas on which FinTech startups are focusing:

Financial Solutions for SMEs
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need all the resources and technology boost they can get to grow their businesses. They are looking for solutions that help them with accounting, invoicing, payroll (including international payroll with currency exchanges), funds transfer, cash management. Our team met some founders with strong ideas on this front, particularly in Thailand and Cambodia.

P2P and SME Lending
It is notoriously difficult for SMEs to get loans from banks. This opened up an opportunity for startups to address in some of the FastTrack stops, through peer to peer (P2P) lending or other models.

Payments and Digital Wallets
This is a popular area: We met several of these startups in every stop. They are often asked what their key differentiators are and if this can be scaled internationally, as many were focused on local networks.

Data Analytics
More startups are offering data analysis as a service for due diligence, credit scoring, and financial information. Financial institutions also need robust analysis and intelligence to garner insights from their oceans of data. Data analytics startups were invited to pitch how their products fit FinTech needs.

Cyber Security
It is always top news when a hacker gets through prominent cyber security walls. Spending on security is a necessity more than a luxury for the finance industry. Asian cyber security startups are differentiating by coming out with solutions based on Big Data, cloud, and even the IoT for the Finance sector.

Forex
This is another area where startups are emerging in most countries. The opportunity to compete with high rates of foreign exchange is being seized with far better service, rates, and add-ons.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
There are plenty of startups focusing on this area. Big banks are forming the R3 blockchain consortium and blockchain labs are popping up all over. The financial viability of Fintech blockchain startups that are late in the game with me-too solutions is a concern.

Top 20 startups will be shortlisted and invited to Singapore in March to pitch their ideas and receive one-on-one feedback in 15-minute ‘speed-dating’ sessions. The one thing our team noticed through this exercise is the abundance of strong and passionate founders. We met over 100 founders – young and seasoned people from many different backgrounds, hungry to learn and network.

Steven Tong is Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore’s Managing Director and resident advisor with more than 10 years’ experience in government liaison, startups, and investment promotion in Singapore and the US.