During the recent Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) Sweden’s Stockholm-based hub for Fintech companies, Findec, signed a partnership, MoU, with Singapore Fintech Association (SFA).
“The purpose with this collaboration is to open up a bridge between Singapore and Sweden so that we can work better; share information, technology and companies; and ensure a better business flow between the countries,” Findec’s Mats Holmfeldt informed, who also held at presentation at the Nordic Innovation House Singapore (NIH-SG) during SFF.
“We now have a partnership to help scale the Swedish innovation companies towards Singapore. At the same time Findec collaborates with all Nordic countries and can thereby promote the whole Nordic region. With the Singapore agreement in place we see interesting scaling opportunities, where we can support each other and promote the Nordics,” he told ScandAsia.
Via this agreement Findec also anticipates increased queries regarding the Nordic market, which can be shared with the colleagues in the respective countries.
Findec’s purpose is to boost Sweden’s financial technology ecosystem through network, knowledge and collaboration. “Our mission is to drive innovation, attract funding and improve time to market,” says Mats who is Findec’s Chairman & Founding Partner.
The counterpart, the non-profit SFA, functions as a platform designed to facilitate collaboration between all market participants and stakeholders in the Fintech ecosystem. It represents the Fintech industry and supports the building of relationships within the Fintech community and collaborates with such international organizations.
“Although Findec collaborates with several regions in the world, having one foot in Asia is of high priority: “We are focusing extra on the collaboration between the Nordics and Asia. And that is based on one reason; the enormous growth potential out here. If you look at innovation in general we can see that the Nordics rank high regarding innovation, but so does Southeast Asia so there is a good match. We have a long history together with Southeast Asia, with our old industry companies being present in the region for decades. We would like to continue and build further on that with new technology that can scale internationally,” states the Swede.
“At the festival we brought a number of Fintech companies, members, and some of them have been pitching at the Nordic Innovation House. The purpose of coming to Singapore is to get exposure in the region and utilize this trade show and [NIH-SG] as a platform for networking with potential customers and potential partners to collaborate with.”
“Aside that, there is an opportunity to find potential regional investors,” adds Mats. “When it comes to scaling into Asia, an important part, in addition to the necessity of having local presence, is to get some investors that not only bring capital but also relevant knowledge and network to support growth, and how to conduct business here, e.g. investors who can assist in opening not only doors but also generate business leads.”
Mats says that the size of the market and the continued growth makes the entire region very interesting. A future challenge is the 25 per cent of the population in Asia that are unbanked: “If new technologies can help these countries to include this part of the population the existing growth will increase further in the region.”
“A challenge but also an opportunity is how to scale Fintech companies outside the home market. Here we strive to connect them with the network we have in Singapore and the rest of the region, to open up for opportunities and grow in Asia.”
From a Swedish Fintech perspective there is a strong DNA to leverage from, with the Swedish BankID, instant P2P payments solution Swish and known for being one of the most cashless societies in the world.
“Many delegations travel to Sweden in order to learn more about this and we’ve had a number of delegations from South East Asia visiting us in Stockholm. We have experienced a major interest and by coming here bringing new innovative companies–the next generation, we can continue to leverage on our strong heritage with decades of innovative ideas presented by strong brands.”
“There is a lot of trust that have been built into this region that new ideas can benefit from and to utilize the network we have with our embassies, Business Sweden etc.
There are generally many stakeholders that we can lean against and collaborate with in order to reach even more trust and opportunities to scale in the market. We see that we can make a difference and become a trusted partner when it comes to delivering new technology. We see that we get opportunities being invited to share our experiences with different countries, for instance.”
“When it comes to financial services it is important that we assist in reaching all important stakeholders as the financial supervisory authority in the respective countries, Central banks, large incumbents and other stakeholders, be it a digitalisation authority or some part working with digitalisation, communication etc.,” continues Mats.
These start-ups can also relatively easy establish their foothold in Singapore thanks to that NIH-SG exists. “We have a partnership via NIH-SG, which is the umbrella organisation for the Nordic countries here. There is an opportunity to rent space there, and we can get leverage on site.”
For the next SFF in 2020 Mats promises to bring even more Findec companies to Singapore. As being part of the Nordics’ joint initiative: “I think we should continue to build on this, and to profile Nordic Innovation House Singapore, us working together.”
SFF has increased rapidly to over 60,000 this year so it fills the whole Expo with the various banks, national pavilions and Fintech companies – it’s the world’s largest. It feels like the whole world travels to Singapore, so if one wants a taste for what is happening right now and look into the future, this is probably the place to be. We are primarily getting here to network with the Asian community but we also meet business partners and contacts from other parts of the world, which means that some business deals being made here are actually global.”