Startup accelerator programme launched in Singapore to promote FinTech innovation

AN award-winning startup accelerator programme from Europe has been launched in Singapore to encourage technological innovation in the financial services sector.

Startupbootcamp FinTech, Europe's leading accelerator focused on financial innovation, on Friday announced the immediate opening of the Startupbootcamp FinTech Asia accelerator programme. This is brought about by a strategic partnership with Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), the investment subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

The programme will provide funding, mentorship, office space and access to a network of industry partners, investors and venture capital firms for up to 10 selected Singapore-based FinTech startups. FinTech refers to any technology applied to financial services.

Each successful team will also receive 15,000 euros (S$24,000) and office space for at least three months at Singapore's new startup cluster at one-north, where two new blocks - Block 73 and 79 - will be added to the current Block 71.

The Startupbootcamp FinTech Asia accelerator programme is also backed by financial services companies like MasterCard and DBS bank, in addition to venture capital firms SBT Venture Capital and Route 66 Ventures. It is also supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Anchored in Singapore, the Asia accelerator programme is set to follow the success of Startupbootcamp FinTech London, which supports 10 teams with a combined valuation of seven million euros (S$11.3 million) and provides startups with mentorship and practical guidance from over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, industry participants and partners as well as access to international markets.

Steve Leonard, the executive deputy chairman of IDA and chairman of IIPL, announced the launch at an event co-hosted with Mayor of London Boris Johnson who is on an Asean tour to build stronger links between London and Asia.

Said Mr Leonard: "The Prime Minister of Singapore has laid out a vision for Singapore to become a Smart Nation. This means we are pulling together our world-ranked universities, multi-billion annual R&D investments, a fast-growing community of tech startups and large pools of investment capital to tackle important challenges that also affect other leading cities around the world.

"The financial services sector affecting everyone's daily transactions is one interesting space with huge opportunities for disruptive innovation. The anchoring of Startupbootcamp FinTech in Singapore bridges two continents - Europe and Asia - and builds a new breed of high growth FinTech startups that are familiar with both ecosystems from the start."

As a kick-off to the programme, startups from all over the world will be invited to apply to present their ideas to the Startupbootcamp FinTech team at a series of Pitch Days between January and March next year. These will be held across the region including in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Bangalore, Tokyo, and Sydney.

The 10 successful applicants will then enter a three-month accelerator programme beginning in May 2015.

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