Winners at Innotribe Singapore

Out of 47 companies at Innotribe Singapore, five have proven themselves worthy to showcase at Sibos, SWIFT‘s annual conference in Boston, US, this October 1, alongside peers who were selected in London, England, and New York, US.

Hosted yesterday by Next Bank Asia at the National Design Centre, the five finalists comprise three early-stage startups and two growth-stage innovators. Here are the five respectively: Germany-based Lendstar, a social financial network; Hong Kong-based Sixscape Communications, which deals with cryptography; Australia’s Stockspot, an online investment manager; Singapore-based Fastacash, a payment platform and Hong Kong’s Advanced Merchant Payments, an online provider of loans.

The competition was first started in 2009. It was organised and managed by SWIFT, a now 41-year-old network provider for financial institutions, to create awareness about financial tech innovation for its members in the banking and investment industry.

These regional events, be it in Singapore, London, or New York, are typically an opportunity for startups in neighbouring countries to meet potential partners and investors, without travelling across the globe for the semi-finals. For example, startups in Malaysia or Vietnam can fly down to Singapore for the challenge, instead of taking a trip to the US.

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While Singapore can always position itself as a hub for other Southeast Asian countries, how can its neighbours better attract startups?Fabian Vandenreydt, Head of Markets Management, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT, told e27 about various overlapping characteristics between well-known startup ecosystems like Singapore or London.

“First, it’s to have an ecosystem of individuals, of startups, with a risk-appetite. … Having this culture of being willing to take risks is important. Second, I think it works well when there is support — both from the private sector and the public sector. … And then, you need to have the mechanics of helping the startups. …You need to help those startups grow,” Vandenreydt added.

At Innotribe, startups also receive coaching from mentors who hail from different industries that are intricately connected to the financial technology sector.