4 amazing startups that caught our eye at the Singapore Fintech Festival | Digital Asia
From KYC to bond-buying, fintech startups are tackling every segment of the financial industry
This year marks the third edition of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), and boy, does it feel larger and grander than its previous incarnations.
In fact, the space SFF occupies is so vast, you could literally get a solid workout walking back and forth across the different event halls. And mind you, this is backed by actual facts: According to Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), it takes 1,600 steps to cover all its four halls.
Considering the varied mix of corporate innovation arms and leading tech platforms exhibiting, as well as a whole host of panels, fireside chats and keynote speeches given by esteemed speakers such as India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, any SFF attendee would be hard-pressed to soak in all the conference has to offer; even when it spans three days.
It is a little overwhelming for the senses, but one thing that can be gleaned from this amazing conference is this: the fintech ecosystem is blossoming; entrepreneurs have a deep hunger and willingness to tap into nascent technologies such as blockchain, to transform the lives of people of different backgrounds — from the HNWI investor to the unbanked shopkeeper going online for the first time via a smartphone.
Here are 4 startups at this year’s SFF that showcase why fintech innovation is important.
Founded in 2015, Singapore startup BondEValue wants to make bond-buying simpler and cheaper for accredited investors.
Using an app, investors can view clear and transparent information about the bonds they are buying and manage their bond portfolios. For example, BondEValue is able to display accurate information about a brokerage’s spread to investors so they can make more informed purchase decisions. Using this information, investors can expect to save up to a few thousand dollars per trade.
Additionally, the company develops bespoke solutions for businesses. BondEValue says that a few companies have approached them to develop white label technological index solutions. For example, if a private banker has 25 clients, and a new deal pops up on the market, the banker can use the BondEValue-developed platform to immediately send notifications to all these investors and receive instant notification of interest.
Currently, BondEValue is offering just information analysis, but it is working towards building blockchain bond-trading services.
Singapore-based startup Traceto.io, a subsidiary of anti-money laundering company Cynopsis, is using blockchain to enhance the electronic Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process. On its platform, it provides a list of KYC service providers — such as Thomas Reuters or Dow Jones — for companies to use so they can verify the authenticity of a party that they want to go into business with.
Both companies — the one who wants to conduct the KYC process and the one who needs to be KYCed — need to be on board on the Traceto platform before a KYC process can be initiated. Traceto incentivises users to come on to its platform to get verified through the use of tokens.
Once these users meet certain requirements, they too can become a verifier for companies who come on board. This will allow them to earn more tokens, which will increase their reputation score. At the same time, companies who maintain consistent information about their profiles as well as allow themselves to be KYCed will increase their reputation score. Think of it as a self-sufficient ecosystem where companies can participate in the verification process of other users.
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Currently, Traceto works with SMEs corporate secretaries and ICOs. It also has partnerships with insurance and insurtech companies such as Aviva and PolicyPal.
Additionally, Traceto conducts monitoring on cryptocurrency transactions. It claims to be able to track whether a crypto wallet address has been compromised and sold on the dark web. Traceto also incorporates AI to conduct “liveness” test, meaning to say that the person in a video feed is alive and not a computer-generated image.
Singapore startup Finesse is among the growing breed of robo-advisor platforms popping up in the market. The difference is that it markets itself as a hybrid digital tool to help relationship managers better manage their clients’ portfolios, as opposed to being a platform that directly invests on the behalf of clients (as in the case of StashAway).
Finesse integrates itself with banks, providing a white label customer dashboard tool. Its customer-centric design offers dynamic risk profiling models. It claims that its profiling models are based on behavioural science so that it can help relationship managers better understand their clients’ risk appetite and goals. It has a set of over 1,000 questions in its library that relationship managers can use to profile clients.
VoxSmart is a UK startup that has an office in Singapore. What it provides is an app that can record phone calls or text messages from a variety of commonly-used platforms including WhatsApp and WeChat. The VSmart app then uploads all recordings to a cloud platform, storing important information such as a time/date stamps, length of recording, phone number and more.
This feature is important for financial institutions because it helps them to address compliance risk management. Typically, wealth managers or bank traders have to use a landline at their office desks when conducting calls with their clients — because that is when they are able to record calls. By developing this feature for smartphones, it makes it easier for them to do business with clients and still stay compliant.
To be fair, text and phone-call recording apps have been around for ages but VoxSmart appears to be offering one of the widest platform coverage. The company sells VSmart as a subscription-based service.
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