Singapore FinTech Festival 2018 (the biggest such event in the world), which drew close to 45,000 participants from almost 130 countries, included significant participation from the Nordic countries.
Both Denmark and Sweden came with delegations (Sweden also with two days in Kuala Lumpur)
The flagship Singapore event provides a global platform for the FinTech community to ‘connect, collaborate and co-create’.
The Danish FinTech Delegation sent a mix of start-ups and corporates from the Danish FinTech ecosystem, ready to explore opportunities across borders. It included financial institutions looking for partnerships, networking and inspiration. They were: 2021.AI, Aryze, Coherra, CreditStretcher, Financial Confidence, NES TECH, MakerDAO, Nordic API Gateway & Spiir, Copenhagen Fintech, Copenhagen Capacity, Danske Bank, Kring Innovation, Danish FSA, RKR Capital, Saxo Markets, Tia Technology and TopDanmark.
Business Sweden’s delegation came mainly to explore the financial sector in Singapore and Malaysia. Among the Swedish companies were: BehavioSec, COVR, Splitgrid, Getsteven, Lendela, Lendify and Hips. Along with Danish fintech start-ups these participated in a Nordic Innovation House – Nordic FinTech Investor Event on 13 November, kindly hosted by Nordea Bank as partner.
Each start-up was given two minutes to do their pitch to invited local investors.
The same night the joint organisers held a networking gathering hosted by the Swedish Ambassador Niclas Kvarnström, at the Swedish Residency, where it was evident by the high number of attendees that people in the financial sector had come from both far and near, and that the interest in Nordic fintech innovations was very strong.
Speaking at the event Mr Sopnendu Mohanty from the Monetary Authority of Singapore spoke of this interest, having visited Copenhagen: “Two things stand out. The design thinking in the Nordics cannot be matched in their attention to the consumer experience. One thing I tell to my people here: the reason you should partner with Nordic countries when it comes to fintech is the design part, how to build a system which is really human-centric. Second, we share the same constraints; being small and far away we really have to create a perception of being bigger than what we really are. These constraints drive our thinking. So with that I think we have a natural partnership and I believe we can work together more; in fact the delegation you have is the largest to the Singapore Fintech Festival.”
Introducing himself Sami Jääskeläinen,Community Manager for the brand new Nordic Innovation House explained that it will be a main task to facilitate networking where one csn make the connections between local and regional investors and Nordic start-ups.
“We are basically a community platform accelerating high quality Nordic start-ups on scale that are coming to Singapore, and also using it as a springboard when it comes to expanding their business to the other markets of this region.”
“We support them in many ways, where a key thing is connecting them to the right ecosystem players here in Singapore, and also to different service providers.”
With a very strong Nordic-Singaporean connection Magnus Grimeland CEO of Antler, a a start-up generator and early-stage VC investor, was also given the stage.
“We just launched Antler last year which I think is a fantastic blend of Singapore and the Nordic region. For example the guy running Southeast Asia for us is from Finland, our CMO is from Sweden, we have a couple of Norwegians in the leadership team, and our head of partnerships is Singaporean, so we have the Nordic-Singapore leadership team and Singaporean-Nordic owners.”
“There interesting thing we also do in Antler is to bring down Nordic founders here and I think we will find tremendous success in the region and we are also in the Nordics, in Stockholm and Oslo.”
“The reason why we are very excited about Southeast Asia I think is manifold: If you look at it from a global scale, this is the fastest stably growing economy in the world. And you have a potential reach of 500 million customers and are also close to key markets such as China and India – so tremendous amount of opportunity in terms of scale and growth. The second thing is the great amount of value created in short time that shows a little bit of the opportunities space.”
Other reasons are that access to talent and improvements in the region in terms of ease of doing business.
“We are seeing now a lot of people wanting to go into entrepreneurship so it’s easy for some of the well led start-ups to bring in some of the top talent here to help growing in the region.”
“There are big differences between the markets in Southeast Asia but the ease of doing business has markedly gone up and of course that includes a lot of companies in the region choosing to set up their headquarter in Singapore. It is a country where you can typically set up good structures to serve all the other countries and that’s what we are seeing as well”
“If we can be helpful in anyway, we are super happy to help anyone considering expanding to here,” ended Magnus.