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Top 5 startups that disrupted Singapore’s FinTech ecosystem in 2016

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Singapore, in all its glory, has established an enviable stature in the startup space. It has substantiated itself as a leading Asian financial technology centre and well, why not? The island city-state entails an extremely zealous and innovation ecosystem, a highly-valued talent pool and remarkable infrastructure.

The nation boasts a business and startup-friendly environment and has been a source of lot many disruptive startups. So, here, we bring to you Singapore-based five of the most innovative/disruptive fintech startups –

Touché

Touché’s idea popped up in founder Sahba Saint-Claire’s head when he forgot his wallet only to realize this at the time of payment. He genuinely felt the need of a solution which enables you to carry out transactions without stuffing your wallets with a multitude of cards.

So, Touché takes the idea of cashless transactions to another level. It delivers a biometric point-of-sale (POS) solution to businesses. The first in the world to use a mobile biometric device, it identifies the user and gives them access to everything to which they are entitled.

The user has to create a profile and register all his credit cards and loyalty cards at one of the devices. They then, instead of a password, use two fingerprints to authenticate their ID.

Each POS device will then be able to retrieve the authenticated user’s profile from the database and even picks the optimal card the customer should use. Touché devices are also equipped with the traditional card swiping function so firms do not need to stock two distinct POS systems. The startup had raised $2 million in July through private investment to ramp up operations and production of devices.

Spark Systems

Fintech startup Spark Systems is building a foreign exchange platform to make trading less costly and more efficient for institutional investors. It is in talks with a major hedge fund to beta-test its platform early next year. The company has raised $5 million in funding and has opened its office at Fintech hub Lattice80 located in the Central Business District.

Wong Joo Seng, Co-founder and CEO of Spark Systems had stated, they aim to eventually develop a Singapore-based foreign exchange marketplace. They will do this by building private platforms for hedge funds and the bankers they work with, and then linking these platforms to create a network. The company has also received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

PolicyPal 

PolicyPal simply wants to make buying and managing insurance simple for everyone.  Incorporated in 2016, this startup puts you at ease by getting rid of all the paperwork and the pain of managing policies. From helping you to understand your policies and what’s missing in your coverage, to sending reminders when premium due dates are up, policy is expiring, ensuring you are always well protected.

Val Jihsuan Yap, CEO of PolicyPal says,

PolicyPal is building recommendation engines to customize risk coverage and generating data sets that can be used to change the basis of underwriting. By creating content for awareness of the product, PolicyPal is educating the market on the need of insurance. Confusing jargon and lack of transparency undermine trust. PolicyPal is changing the insurtech industry because we bring in transparency, engagement, financial inclusion and insurance literacy to the market.

Active.ai

Active.ai develops intelligent virtual assistants for financial service institutions. These virtual assistants come in the form of bots, SMS or voice API’s. It enables FIs to deliver their services using Intuition and Automation over channels of engagement. The company’s vision is to become the AI Saas platform for Financial Services.

Active.ai raised $3 million last month and plans to utilize the newly-raised capital to accelerate the development of more advanced AI features for its platform. Ravishankar, co-founder and CEO of Active.ai tells The Tech Portal,

We are excited to be part of the new conversational era, we believe the customer will be engaging in an unstructured micro-conversations with their banks and Active.ai will be enabling banks to intuitively engage with the customer. In 2017, we will see a chatbots, voice enabled IOT devices using Ai going mainstream. Ai will drive a lot of future of fintech in the coming years.

soCash

soCash is on a mission to turn every store, both retail chains and mom-pop stores, into cashpoints with its technology making it possible to withdraw cash at minimarts and grocery shops, instead of queuing up at ATMs. The transaction can be done securely via mobile banking apps of major banks.

The company has been deploying its smartphone application, connecting small shops into a scalable network for cash withdrawals and eventually plans to become the last mile for banking services and ecommerce. Also, soCash is the only fintech startup backed by funds from MAS ( Monetary Authority to Singapore). Hari Sivan, Co-founder and CEO, soCASH, says,

Cash is the biggest payment system in the world, yet cash management in banks has barely changed in decades. soCash solves this problem by making cash social and peer to peer. Singapore offers the perfect ecosystem to drive disruptive innovation.It has the banks which has embraced digital banking, the regulatory framework encourages pragmatic experimentation and the payment infrastructure is fantastic.


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