It was MASSIVE. Over 60,000 participants from more than 130 countries were represented at this year’s SFF x SWITCH. Spanning 6 halls and hosting over 1,000 exhibitors, the event aims to be the largest FinTech event in the world. Job done I'd say!
Singapore Fintech Festival - The Vision.
In 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore started working closely with the FinTech community to develop a strong ecosystem centred on collaboration and innovation. Singapore has set a goal to become the world's first Smart City State with the ultimate goal of improving people’s lives.
It's a holistic approach to innovation that incorporates Fintech, Clean Energy, IOT, Transportation, Payments, Digital ID, AI and anything else you can think of that goes into making a smart city. The Singaporean Government has dedicated over $1bn in funding in 2019 alone. Singapore is pulling out all of the stops and taking massive action.
The Singapore Fintech Ecosystem Since 2015:
Less than 50 start-ups in 2015 to over 600 in 2019
5 to over 40 innovation labs
Creation of over 1,100 FinTech jobs each year
More than S$1 billion investments in FinTech companies
My biggest eye opener was meeting the people at Razer the online gaming company. Razer build gaming computers, accessories and have a huge gaming community across the US, Europe and Asia. Fintech is their next logical step where they aim to offer gamers tailored financial services and payments.
My other highlights included catching up with the Revolut team and meeting the Founder Nik Storonsky. I used my Revolut card on this trip for all transactions and I am blown away by how good the product is and how much money I saved! It literally has Revolutionised travel for me.
Uber famously disrupted the taxi industry and in big news recently, Uber and Google are planning to enter the banking space. This is already happening in Asia, while the Fintech industry in Aus has looked to Silicon Valley and Shoreditch for innovation maybe Singapore is the place we should be drawing inspiration from.
Grab, which is like Uber but on steroids made my trip super easy. From one app I could book rides, order food, have gifts collected from a store and dropped at my hotel, book a hotel and more. With an in built loyalty program, instant payments for drivers and a micro insurance policy for drivers Grab already does what Uber plans to do.
Banking as a Service.
Westpac announced their partnership with Tier One People's newest client 10x Future Technologies. This is the most significant play yet as open banking finally becomes a reality in Australia. Needless to say we are very happy to be supporting such a ground breaking client and partnership.
BaaS was very much the key theme at Singapore Fintech Festival. I had some very interesting chats with tech platforms that are essentially the plumbing for banking. What does this mean? More consolidation of banks in the future and less likely more competition. If Westpac partners with Google for example, I can see mid-tier banks having to consolidate in order to survive. Is BaaS an opportunity for Aussie Neo Banks like Volt, Xinja and Douugh to partner with banks, on an international scale?
The Singapore Fintech Festival Parties!
Jeez, the Fintech community knows how to host a party. Thanks to Rapyd, R3, GPS, Revolut, Visa, Standard Chartered and everyone else who held get together's for the community.
My highlights were a really intimate get together Paul Kang organised where Australia's very own Minster for Fintech, Jane Hume came along. I love the energy Senator Hume has for Fintech and she deserves more backing than what I could see was on offer from the Australian Government.
And I doubt I can forget an epic night eating Satay at a Hawker restaurant with the Standard Chartered innovation team and Fintech Australia's founding CEO Danielle Szetho - Happy days/nights!
Should I Go To SFFX 2020?
Asia is a huge opportunity and one Australian Fintech simply cannot afford to ignore any longer.
Founder of Tier One People and host of the Fintech Chatter Podcast.
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