Asia’s best startups will be together for one time only on January 25-26

2015 proved to be a landmark year for the startup community – not just fintech, but across the board. It’s never been easier to create a new business: online tools mean you can start a business at the click of a mouse; global markets are opened by endless connectivity (albeit with growing regulatory pressures); and investment dollars are being distributed at record levels. It’s an exciting time to be in business, unless you’re the one getting disrupted!

Fintech startups in particular had a stellar year in 2015, with a record number of new businesses started driven by twin tailwinds.

  1. INVESTORS ARE BACKING MORE FINTECH BUSINESSES

According to Accenture, investments in fintech across Asia-Pacific skyrocketed in 2015 – from about US$880 million in all of 2014 to nearly US$3.5 billion in just the first nine months of 2015, putting the year at a total projected US$5 billion taking into account a frantic last quarter. And it will continue at pace – analysts at MarketResearch.com predict annual global investment to reach US$46 billion by 2020.

This tells us that the investment community, who we’d expect see the longer term projections more clearly than some, believe the fintech startup and service sector will continue to grow rather than contract or consolidate. It also means the clients will be there to purchase, which leads us to the next point.

  1. BANKS ARE UTILISING MORE FINTECH STARTUP PRODUCTS & SERVICES

It’s been pretty incredible to see the positive change in mindset and interaction from large banks and the fintech community in just the past 5-8 years. In the past, it would have been too easy for a banker to dismiss a startup as the wrong solution to their problems, regardless of how appropriate their business model was. Sticking with the big boys in tech and other services was often the safe option, given the risks and dollars at stake.

Now we realise that the right solution can come in any form – large or small. Both have their pros and cons. Now startups offer not just a new product or service, but also a new way of looking at the banking world that helps refresh old paradigms – sharp customer focus, ruthlessly efficient and direct, pushing for delivery and time to market in more raw forms. The market place is rich for banks now to choose a solution that meets their needs, and fintech startups are there to assist. Around this has been an absolute proliferation of startup programs, lists, facilitators and others to help organise this community.

However, the number of fintech startups to simply keep track of can be overwhelming. There are now dozens of new business models in single niche categories and geographies. And we’ve seen the birth of completely new areas of business that 5-8 years ago simply weren’t really feasible or viable with the technology and skills we had back then – robo-advisory, biometrics, high frequency trading, big data, and artificial intelligence were sometimes crazy ideas from the movies and futurist’s presentation decks, and now we’re seeing them in almost every market.

THE ROAD TO THE FINTECH FINALS

To that end, we decided to create an event that really gave the industry a true cross section of the fintech startups that are creating the solutions of the future. The Fintech Finals in Hong Kong has a strong conference lineup of keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions around the topics that really matter. But the real flagship of the 2 days (January 25 and 26) is the pitch competition, where we pit 24 early, growth & mature stage startups against each other for prizes and partnership opportunities. Many more startups will be present to meet potential clients and investors as well – it will be the ultimate Asian fintech showcase, the first of its kind.

How did we choose these startups, with a particular focus on Asia? Through 3 different ways.

The first was an open application process, where startups from across the world applied online, and 50 of the industry’s best minds poured over every entry to create their shortlist. Thanks to all the applicants for their efforts, and to the judges for their prompt and dedicated judging.

The second was to approach our friends in the best accelerator and incubator programs from across the world, and get their nominations for their brightest stars – startups from the likes of Startupbootcamp Fintech, Accenture Fintech Innovation Lab, BBVA Open Talent, Innotribe, and Nest. We thank these amazing industry leaders, all are also good friends of ours.

The third way we found the best startups in the region was to run 6 open pitch competitions in 6 cities across Asia – Singapore was the first, followed by Mumbai, Bangalore, Sydney, Seoul and finally Kuala Lumpur. Many thanks to ALL of our event partners in each of these cities for representing our competition and executing great events with great passion!

Out of this has come a list of 24 startups you’ll see pitching on stage in Hong Kong at the Fintech Finals. Let’s list them alphabetically:

OBSERVATIONS ON THE JOURNEY TO THE FINTECH FINALS

It’s been a really fascinating journey to get to this 24 – seeing the submissions; hosting events across the region; involving a regional panel of judges.

The 3 observations I can make are

  1. There is a genuine mix of startups operating in the region – from payments to security, blockchain to wealth management.
  2. There has been a real uptick in early stage startups coming forward and being a part of the mix – they represent the largest segment of the list of 24, so investment opportunities exist in these competitors!
  3. The passion of all the people in this industry is truly amazing – everyone is excited by the future, and are quick to mobilise themselves and those around them to make this collation of startups possible

Each will have 6 minutes to impress a range of judges representing the large banks, investment firms, consultancies and experts across the region in front of hundreds of their peers and the world’s press.

From that we’ll determine the best of the best fintech startup in the region – we wish them well at the 2016 Fintech Finals! See you there

You can see the 24 Fintech Finals Pitch Competition at the 2016 Fintech Finals Conference on January 25-26 in Hong Kong. Register today at FintechFinals.com – tickets are selling super fast!
Source: FF