Top Fintech startups in Singapore

As the startup scene in Singapore goes from strength to strength, we take a closer look at some of the city state’s up and coming fintech companies in 2019

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Financial Technology, better know by its portmanteau, fintech, is in the spotlight.

The Singapore Fintech Festival, which took place in the city-state from 12 to 16 November 2018, brought together more than 40,000 participants from over 100 countries.

The event is the biggest gathering of the global fintech community and attracted names of the calibre of Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, or Narendra Modi, India's PM. 

In 2017 alone, Singapore received USUS$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 Singapore their home, it’s clear that emerging businesses are aware of the opportunities presented by the city-state and want to capitalise on the benefits they have to offer.

Below is a roundup of some of the biggest and most innovative fintech startups in Singapore.

Validus Capital

What: peer-to-business (P2B) lending platform for SMEs

Funding: US$15.2 million in Series B

Founded in 2015 in Singapore, Validus brings together accredited individual and institutional lenders and SMEs.

It obtained its Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in December 2017.

The startup announced recently that it successfully raised US$15.2 million in its Series B funding round. The investment was led by FMO, Netherlands’ public-private development bank.

ShereIt

What: White-label social trading network for stock brokerage firms

Funding: US$17k over the seed round

ShereIt (formerly Bw8 Trading) is a mobile-based social trading platform for stock brokerage firms. It allows users to communicate with other traders around the world in a real-time and transparent setting.

ShereIt helps amateur traders find the best business partners through its social networking platform. Leveraging on the feeds of top traders, investors can learn about new strategies and different sectors. Beginners can follow a range of traders and learn about different trading styles which will help build their own knowledge and skills.

BetterTradeOff (BTO)

What: fintech and insurtech startup that offers a “one-of-a-kind life planning solution to reflect the unique lifestyle of everyone

Funding: S$3.4 million over two funding rounds

BTO uses advanced statistical models and AI to help individuals make better decisions when attempting to finance their future. It was formed in 2015, and is now available in Asia, Europe and Middle East.

Toast

What: Peer-to-Peer money transfer application

Funding: US$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.

TranSwap

What: cross-border payments that enables businesses to make transfers at the mid-market exchange rate obtained from third-party sources like Bloomberg and Reuters without a mark-up

Funding: US$1.2 million during initial funding

Recently awarded the Gold Award for Payment Tech Category (Startup) at the Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA) Fintech Achievement Award Ceremony 2018 held in Hong Kong on 26 February, TranSwap helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) streamline their payment processes and make foreign payments at the most competitive rates to more than 45 countries.

Quoine

What: Financial services powered by blockchain technology

Funding: US$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.

Hatcher+

What: Data-driven venture investment platform

Funding: US$3.5M during the early stage funding round

Hatcher+ is a next-generation, data-driven venture firm that uses AI and machine learning-based technologies to identify early-stage opportunities in partnership with leading accelerators and investors, worldwide.

Hatcher+ provides optimised returns for venture investors using proprietary algorithms, real time monitoring and customisable technology. It sources startup information from accelarator programs and partner VCs, investment professionals and angel investors.

FundedHere

What: Equity and lending-based crowdfunding platform

Funding: US$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.

PolicyPal

What: Digital insurance manager

Funding: US$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.

Silent Eight

What: Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that helps banks and financial institutions combating money laundering and terrorism financing

Funding: Undisclosed

Silent Eight is a regulatory technology (regtech) startup backed by leading venture capitalists from Singapore and Silicon Valley. Using an AI, they pioneer an innovative solution for customer screening and transaction monitoring powered by machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) which enable banks and financial institutions to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

Smartkarma

What: Investment research network for asset managers

Funding: US$21M in 3 rounds of funding

Smartkarma owns and operates a research network, providing investment insights into global markets. Acting as an unbiased information source, it originally sought to provide transparent research into markets throughout Asia. However, the company has now expanded into American and European markets, helping investors across the globe to determine their future investments. The research is provided by a number of leading academics, analysts, data scientists and industry experts.

InstaReM

What: Remittance services for individuals and businesses

Funding: US$18.5M across seed, series a and series b funding rounds

Co-founded by Prajit Nanu and Michael Bermingham in 2014, InstaReM (portmanteau of "Instant" and "Remittance") provides fast, secure and cost-effective digital cross-border money transfer services to individuals and businesses.

The startup also offers a configurable, multi-featured platform, MassPay, that helps corporate and SME users to manage and control their high-volume remittances to multiple beneficiaries in multiple currencies via a seamless process, allowing them to reduce cross-border money transfer costs by up to 80%.

Additional reporting by Cristina Lago

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