In his opening speech at this year’s Seedstars Singapore pitching event, Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of government-backed deep-tech focussed collaboration centre SGInnovate — Seedstars Singapore’s main partner — urged startups not to be clones, derivatives, or extensions of other companies.
He advocated, instead, the development of important, impactful, and technology-intensive tools — solutions that are difficult to replicate and which are scalable.
Today, the top winner of Seedstars Singapore, FinChat, certainly demonstrated some of the aforementioned qualities.
The Singapore-based fintech startup is solving a very real and pressing problem in the financial industry. You see, bankers are discouraged — and in some banks, barred — from communicating information with clients over messaging apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat.
The problem with these apps is that they are not compliant with financial institutions’ regulations on data retention. In January this year, Deutsche Bank AG banned the use of WhatsApp because its text messages cannot be archived by the bank.
Then there is the MiFID or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. This broad directive, established in the EU in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, established a set of regulations to help reduce systemic risks, increase the efficiency of financial markets and ensure better investor protection.
Next year, the directive will be updated to MiFID II to strengthen these regulations. And that means banks have to ensure their tools and services have to be compliant with these new standards. This ensures all information is transparent to both the banks and clients.
The deadline is 3 January 2018. So banks who wish to use messaging apps are going to want to make sure those are compliant — pronto.
This is where FinChat steps in. Its mobile compliance platform ensures that all business chats are captured and monitored while ensuring they are secure and safe from being leaked in the event the phone goes missing.
Archiving the chat history also serves another purpose — it makes the handover process smoother. Say a bank employee leaves the company, their replacement can easily take on the past employee’s client accounts by reading up on their messaging history.
FinChat claims its solution can scale quickly. According to its website, a proof of concept can be deployed within three days and scaled to production size within a month. So banks who need to be compliant before the MiFID II deadline still have time to do so.
FinChat says major financial institutions across the globe have already expressed interest in its solution. But it needs the funding and support to roll it out at scale. By clinching the top prize at SeedStars Singapore, FinChat is one step closer its goal.
Here’s what FinChat won: a free trip to the SeedStars Regional Summit and the SeedStars Global Summit. At the Global Summit in Switzerland, FinChat will be able to participate in a 3-day bootcamp with international mentors and investors and stand a chance to win US$500,000 in equity investments.
Jumper.ai is a conversational commerce company that helps drive sales through social media engagement. It facilitates a range of payment options from over 135 countries.
Pegaxis is a B2B marketplace for property maintenance. The problem with the state of property maintenance market now is that there is a lack of transparency — and as a result, corruption cases crop up from time to time. It is also labour intensive and inefficient.
Pegaxis tackles this pain point by being a one-stop online procurement shop for property managers and contractors. It aims to automate procurement at an enterprise level.
The other Seedstar Singapore participants
The remaining five participating startups also presented unique and practical services. Check them out.
Tuple touts itself as a plug and play predictive analytics platform. Using its own set of AI and machine learning algorithms, it helps businesses churn out predictive recommendations for customers in real time.
Tuple claims to be better than its competitors such as Salesforce because it can be plugged into any database and be deployed seamlessly.
There are several pain points (no pun intended) in the rehabilitation/physiotherapy industry. First, patients who undergo therapy may not follow exercise instructions correctly when they are rehabilitating at home. Then, most wearables that help track patients’ progress can only be used in the presence of physiotherapists.
Kinexcs’ wearable kit works in conjunction with its therapy app. It provides actionable information about patients exercise patterns to physiotherapists remotely in real time.
This allows for on-demand patient analysis report; Feedback can be transmitted over to patients to help them stay compliant to rehabilitation exercises.
For accurate measurements, the wearable is first calibrated to the each patient’s unique exercise requirements at the physiotherapy clinic.
Kinexcs says day to day feedback is also more accurate because patients can report their daily progress immediately when it is fresh in their minds (as opposed to trying to recall a whole week’s worth).
Parcel Perform is a SaaS platform for last mile e-commerce. It standardises the tracking of shipment across different carriers and markets seamlessly; merchants can simply integrate the Parcel Perform widget into its platform.
The platform offers data such as shipping status and parcel tracking and provides actionable reports — which includes data such as package transit times — for merchants to analyse performance and optimise customer service.
From a consumer perspective, filling up registration forms are a chore. And when they have to fill up a whole bunch of them across different businesses, their information is going to be inconsistent, incorrect and sometimes, outdated.
Regit’s solution is simple: one registration form to rule them all. Businesses would invite users to register on this web-based platform.
Once a user has filled up Regit’s form, they can use it across other businesses’ forms automatically as long as they have integrated Regit. It’s kind of like how Google Chrome sometimes automatically fill in a user’s personal information in certain business sites.
Of course, there are certain ethical quandaries about this solution. Personal data is sensitive, so what would incentivise, say, financial institutions to adopt this solution? How would Regit ensure that user information is secure and not sold around?
Activpass provides a CRM software and a SaaS marketplace for beauty, wellness and fitness businesses.
The CRM software helps these businesses to manage sales and operations and marketing. It also has location technology — beacons placed in stores automatically send out personal notifications to customers as they walk in.
The SaaS marketplace offers last minute deals (up to 90 per cent off) to customers. Currently, there are over 250 merchants on the platform.
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