The Economist reported in its most recent issue in an article entitled The fintech revolution that, “From payments to wealth management, from peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, a new generation of startups is taking aim at the heart of the industry — and a pot of revenues that Goldman Sachs estimates is worth US$4.7 trillion.”
It’s under precisely this explosive speed of change that over 40 funds, banks and public institutions gathered in Singapore last week for talks on Asia’s fin-tech space, hosted by new Russian VC in town Life.SREDA and attended by e27.
We previously exclusively reported that Life.SREDA is looking to invest up to US$90 million in Asian fin-tech startups over the next six months, and will be launching its own accelerator in Singapore later this year.
In attendance at the talks were the likes of Infocomm, Spring Singapore, NRF, OCBC, DBS Bank, PWC, McKinsey, Deloitte, Startupbootcamp, Yozma Group (South Korea) and Fidor Bank (Germany).
Bridging the communication chasm
Mohit Mehrotra, Partner at Deloitte, believes that Asia provides tremendous opportunities for financial services due to low penetration across products and services, but said there was still a lack of communication between banks and fin-tech companies.
“Fin-tech startups are willing to cooperate with banks, but as a rule they don’t know who to speak to in banks for partnerships – business, operations, tech, or digital,” Mehrotra said.
In China, all eyes are on the P2P lending. According to Christiaan Kaptein, former Co-founder and Partner at Arbor Ventures, this is because it’s one of the most promising fin-tech sectors in Asia, largely as a result of China’s total lending volume, the growth of shadow banking and state legislative initiatives that contribute to the development of this market.
“Asia has all the prerequisites for fin-tech development — tier 2 and tier 3 banks, less legacy, government-driven investment. Also, we see that Asian consumers are ready for fin-tech services, which is highly important for the development of products and services,” said Marcus Gnirck, COO at Startupbootcamp, which recently launched the Singapore branch of its fin-tech accelerator.
He added that the current quantity and quality of fin-tech companies does not correspond to the real potential of the region, and that the industry’s successful development will require state support and fin-tech expertise, including from venture capital firms and accelerators.
Involving the state, VCs, banks and startups
Closing speaker Reggy de Feniks, Managing Partner at 9Senses said, “Fin-tech is strongly growing worldwide, which shows in the digitisation of financial services, use of data to further personalise relationships and the increasing role of channels like mobile which have become so much part of people’s lives.”
“However, vital while deploying fin-tech is to keep in mind what it is all about: in the end you need to engage customers in such a way that it creates relevancy for customers and at the same time builds mutually profitable relationships. This requires not only fin-tech expertise, but also deep customer understanding,” he added.
Concluding the evening, Vladislav Solodkiy, Managing Partner at Life.SREDA, said that fin-tech development is impossible without an established professional fin-tech network, which involves the state, VCs, banks and startups.
“The world’s best fin-tech companies come from the countries with a close collaboration between all parties. The right environment is essential for the fin-tech development and this executive talk is our fund’s first step to create such an environment in Asia,” he said.