Singapore

Global Investor Discussion 2021

November 25, 2021

On 28 October 2021, F10 Singapore held a Global Investor Discussion online on the topic “Where is the money going in FinTech”. The panel comprised of diverse and expert investors – Gen Ping Liu from Vertex Ventures, Cedric Waldburger from Tomahawk Ventures and Rodrigo Garcia de la Cruz from Finnovating. The hour-long panel delved into the current trends in the FinTech sector and included topics of discussion such as blockchain, DeFi, Web 3.0 and DAOs.

The session kicked off by introducing one of Vertex Ventures’ startups, NIUM, which has become the first global B2B payment unicorn in Singapore. Prajit Nanu, founder of NIUM, was able to realize his vision because he never stops dreaming and innovating which allowed NIUM to stay competitive. Prajit’s ambition and competency gained the support of the Vertex Ventures team who believes in nurturing and growing together with their startups.

Adding on further to that, Cedric Waldburger delved deeper into the topic and gave his thoughts on investing in founders. He shared his considerations when investing in founders using a three-pronged approach – Execution, Empathy and Clarity – with leading questions such as: Do they have an intense mindset? Are they a natural leader? Do they often think of the problem and how clear are their ideas?

During the discussion, trends on different investment themes were also identified - investors in European or US countries gravitate more towards B2B companies; open banking and world capital markets, followed by B2C and BNPL. Investors in Asian countries on the other hand are looking at B2C companies such as Neobanks and B2C payment lenders, as well as technologies such as Blockchain, DeFi and AI.

A lot of growth has also been observed in series A and B funding and with the ecosystem now opening up and more startups are building and maturing, more unicorns are expected to emerge in the FinTech sector in 2-5 years, according to Rodrigo from Finnovating.

Additionally, with more startups emerging, there has been some discourse as to whether these new services or technology will replace existing architecture or be offered in parallel. According to Rodrigo and Gen Ping, it is unlikely that these startups will replace existing players due to regulations and the best scenario would be for startups to work alongside traditional banks. Continued collaboration between FinTech companies and banks are essential for the future and growth of both the financial services industry and the technology sector.

“Traditional banks are not going to go away in a long time, and they still have a role to play in a FinTech emergent market. However, it is still necessary for banks to find the balance between pushing the limits and being regulatory compliant.” said Cedric.

The FinTech market is maturing as a result of the tremendous expansion seen in recent years, leading in the rise of developing categories in the FinTech landscape. According to our panelists, Open Banking, Governance, Embedded Finance, AI, Cryptocurrency, and Metaverse are some trends in venture within the FinTech industry where increasing amounts of investment may be seen in the future.

Evidently, the financial environment has become much more open in recent years, owing to more startups experimenting with embedded finance. Hence, it is important to note that early collaboration between entrepreneurs, incumbents, and investors is the most efficient path to innovation.

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