The startup scene throughout Southeast Asia is thriving, with young entrepreneurs from all over the world flocking to the region to take advantage of the growing economy and innovative tech landscape.
Fintech companies are some of the largest growing organisations within the startup landscape and Singapore has emerged as a clear leader in the region, due to the supportive startup and fintech ecosystem it has fostered over recent years.
In 2017 alone, Singapore received US$229.1 million of fintech funding and two of the continent’s biggest deals took place there in Q4. Venture capitalist firms are also taking note of the fruitful startup landscape, with investments up 60% on the previous year.
With 490 fintech startups now calling the city-state their home, it’s clear that emerging businesses are aware of the opportunities presented by Singapore and want to capitalise on the benefits they have to offer.
Below is a roundup of six of the biggest and most innovative fintech startups in Singapore.
What: Peer-to-Peer money transfer application
Funding: $865.93k in 2 rounds from 4 investors
Founded in 2015, Toast is a mobile application that allows Filipinos in Hong Kong and Singapore to send money home to the Philippines via their smartphone. TOAST’s USP is that it transmits your money quicker than traditional money transfer shops and cheaper than banks.
What: Financial services powered by blockchain technology
Funding: $123M in funding over 3 rounds. The latest funding came from an Initial Coin Offering round in 2017
Quoine provides trading, exchange, and next-generation financial services powered by blockchain technology. The platform allows users to trade virtual currencies for legal tender and in 2017 they launched their own ICO, QASH. After three days the company announced it had raised 350 million QASH with an oversubscribed placing, making it one of the most successful blockchain fintech ICOs globally.
What: Equity and lending-based crowdfunding platform
Funding: $1.29M in 1 round from 7 investors
Another startup that was launched in 2015, FundedHere is Singapore’s first home-grown crowdfunding platform. The company offers both equity and lending-based forms of crowdfunding for Asian businesses that meet the startup’s four-point criteria. Equity funding means investors finance the startups in exchange for equity holdings, which will later entitle them to future capital gains and dividends. With lending-based crowdfunding, investors lend a startup money in exchange for a legally binding commitment that the loan will be repaid on pre-determined time dates and interest rate.
What: Digital bank offering real-time account opening and cross border payments
Funding: $2M in funding from its only seed round
WB21 is a digital bank that provides private and business clients with the ability to open accounts in real-time and make cross-border payments in 28 currencies. It aims to eliminate the need for excessive documentation, meetings and questioning; making it easier to open an account in a different country to where you are based or if your industry is usually turned away by traditional financial institutions. WB21 also allows its users to make Bitcoin deposits to fund checking accounts.
What: Digital insurance manager
Funding: $20M in funding over 3 rounds. The latest funding came from an Initial Coin Offering round in 2018.
PolicyPal is a mobile application that allows users to find and manage their insurance policies via a single, unified platform. The app shows you where policies have overlapping or missing coverage and recommends the insurance that is best suited to your needs. Their PAL token was launched earlier this year and the PolicyPal Network aims to address key issues that overlap the fields of both insurance and crypto assets.
What: Investment research network for asset managers
Funding: $4.7M in 2 rounds from 3 investors
Smartkarma owns and operates a digital marketplace that provides investment insights into Asian markets. Acting as an unbiased information source, it provides transparent research into markets throughout Asia that investors all around the globe can use to determine their future investments. The research is provided by a number of leading academics, analysts, data scientists and industry experts.