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UK accelerator unveils 10 startups for inaugural S'pore programme

Four of those chosen by Startupbootcamp FinTech are based here; this is first fintech scheme in South-east Asia

Dana Ritter (left) and Bert-Jan van Essen, co-founders of Dragon Wealth; the wealth management system is one of the four Singapore-based startups that were handpicked from some 300 applications globally for SBC's inaugural accelerator programme here.


BRITISH accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech (SBC), which specialises in nurturing financial technology (fintech) firms, on Monday unveiled the 10 startups selected for its inaugural Singapore accelerator programme.

These startups, hailing from across Asia-Pacific and Europe, and reflecting popular fintech trends such as blockchain technology, financial inclusion and wealth management, were hand-picked from some 300 applications globally.

Collectively, they have raised over S$2.5 million prior to the programme and 30 per cent of them are revenue-generating. The average age of the teams is 3.2 years, BT has learnt.

Of the 10 startups, four are Singapore-based: money transfer platform Cryptosigma; wealth management system Dragon Wealth; social mobile payment solution provider Kashmi; and blockchain enabler Otonomos.

From May, all 10 startups will undergo a three-month bootcamp that will help them refine their business models and identify market opportunities - mostly through mentorship from over 100 industry experts.

Each team will receive S$24,500 and four months of free office space at SBC's hub in Block 79 at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north.

Teams will also enjoy collaboration opportunities with SBC's partners - among them DBS, MasterCard, Route 66 Ventures, SBT Venture Capital and Infocomm Investments (IIPL) - which according to the accelerator, means "access to pilot customers, industry data, APIs and capital".

Said Otonomos founder Han Verstraete: "Applying for SBC was a no-brainer. There's the partners, the access, the coaching, the regulatory buy-in, and the geography. Who doesn't get a kick working on fintech from Asia, the banking industry's biggest growth engine?"

He added: "Kudos to SBC for bringing the franchise here to Singapore. Praise too for all the partners, with special credit to DBS for their foresightedness on new technologies such as the blockchain, and to the regulators here who keep such an open mind on fintech."

SBC's Singapore run marks the first fintech programme in South-east Asia, and also the first with such widespread support from industry partners, SBC's co-founder Markus Gnirck told BT. "Being at the core of this movement, Singapore will see knowledge and job creation, placing it in a strong position to foster innovation across the financial industries."

When asked why fintech is seeing rapid growth now, Mr Gnirck chalked it up to a mix of government support and funding available from venture capitalists and investors, as well as institutional infrastructure that is ready to work with and develop innovative solutions.

"Above all, Singapore has recognised that supporting startups fosters an innovative and prosperous economy, so the government drive has played a big role in creating the supportive ecosystem that allows fintech to thrive."

Said IIPL's chairman Steve Leonard: "This unique ability of our tech community coming together so fast to help grow the ecosystem is one reason we are confident Singapore is on its way to becoming a Smart Nation."

Last October, IIPL invested between US$1 million and US$5 million in SBC, marking IIPL's first entry into Europe, and its second investment in an accelerator. In March 2014, it made a strategic investment in homegrown accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI.Asia).

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