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New e-wallets to emerge with launch of common QR code for Singapore: Stripe chief

NEW e-wallet solutions are expected to emerge in Singapore with the launch of standardised protocols like SGQR this year, said Patrick Collison, chief of San Francisco-based financial technology company Stripe, during a fireside chat on Wednesday.

The entrepreneur, who was in Singapore, was speaking to an audience of founders, investors and technologists at The Working Capitol, the co-working space where Stripe Singapore is based. Topics included e-payments and his personal tips on entrepreneurship.

He said: "Banks and regulators around the world seem committed to standardising protocols and clearing houses, an example of which is SGQR. This will allow apps, (even those) which are not about payments, to get into it… and offer e-wallets."

SGQR, a common QR code for Singapore slated to be rolled out this year, will allow consumers to pay merchants for their purchases by simply scanning a QR code using their smartphones. SGQR is envisioned to offer a practical and convenient way to introduce e-payments to cash-based merchants. Companies here that currently offer e-payments services using QR code include Grab and Nets.

Mr Collison was responding to a member of the audience who had asked for his thoughts on China leading the e-payments space.

He said: "A whole host of companies are now trying to replicate that in other places, such as Paytm in India.

"Companies are figuring out how to turn on-demand services into a wallet. Even incumbent players are thinking of how to use these capabilities."

On Wednesday, Mr Collison also offered tips on how entrepreneurs can build fast-growing startups. For example, he urged founders to cultivate a "kind of unusual optimism" by building a team of optimistic individuals in their early stages of starting up.

"Most people in the world are relatively sceptical, pessimistic and cynical… and believe that most things that people try will not work. It's very rare to have a group of people that will think 'What if this works?' and 'What if things go well?'"

The 30-year-old Irish-born entrepreneur also urged founders to talk to other founders and be plugged into the startup ecosystem. It is the only way through which they can learn how it is "miserable" and "not fun" when "things don't go your way".

He said: "The story of any successful company (startup) is a story of 'every day, everything is being broken but not so broken that it will kill the company'.

"The value of having an ecosystem is being able to provide that perspective."