In the same way that we could feel the emergence of Fintech in London a few years ago, we can detect a similar trend coming from Asia today.
Remember that only 3 years ago there might have been less than 100 Fintech startups in London – whereas there might be 10 times that amount today. Are we witnessing the same in Asia ?
I had the chance to catch up with Markus Gnirck who has been setting up StartupBootCamp Fintech in Singapore recently.
As you may know, I am very fond – and very impressed – with StartupBootCamp Fintech (I am a mentor there). This is an accelerator that, under Nektarios, Carsten and Markus, managed to create an incredible ecosystem in less than a year and their startups are fast capitalising on it (InvoiceSharing / Insly in the Fintech 50. InvestUp raising seed round).
This was therefore interesting to see the launch of SBC Fintech Singapore, together with the investment from Infocomm in the venture: what is the opportunity for Fintech in Asia?
Markus has been touring the region for the last 2 months and kindly shared his feedback with me. There have been pitch days in 13 cities all over Asia, and we could summarise the situation as below:
– Fintech is still at an early stage in Asia – perhaps like Europe or the US 2 years ago. In a lot of places where Markus went, he organised the first Fintech meetup to take place in that city
– There might be around 500 Fintech startups for the whole of Asia (to be compared to perhaps 1,000 in London)
– There are very few VCs specialised in Fintech, but a lot of VCs are interested to invest in that space
– The main areas of interest are payment, Bitcoins, consumer-facing products, wealth management. A bit of B2B, mainly in Singapore.
As for StartupBootCamp Fintech Singapore, they are replicating a tried and tested method applied in London and the results are already very impressive:
– Already the biggest Fintech accelerator in Asia
– 150 startups have already registered
– 150 mentors are on the list
– They have built relationships with the top 40 VCs.
– Markus expects that half of the startups will be from Singapore, and the rest from Asia ex Singapore.
The arrival of SBC Fintech is a great news for the region – it should trigger the same kind of virtuous circle and ecosystem that we have witnessed in Europe and the US. My view is that:
– Fintech is definitely coming fast to Asia.
– There are great opportunities that could be radically different than Europe or the US – because consumer behaviours are not the same
– SBC starts off with a bang, and I expect them to do very well in Asia too.
To conclude, if you are a Fintech startup in Asia, this is a great opportunity to learn from the best, so register before the 15th of March if you haven’t done it yet!
(And if you are in Europe/Middle East/Africa, register to the Citi Mobile Challenge before the 6th of March!)
Many thanks to Markus for sharing his insight, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of the next batch of SBC Fintech Singapore.
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