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White Space for Fintech Startups

I have attended the singapore fintech festival 2017, a wonderfully managed, world largest fintech festival. We had a small stall in the festival to showcase our startup. The stall was in the fintech corner, mixed up with so many other fintech startups from different part of the world. Considering the chance of getting lost in crowd, we found a ourselves a crowd maker.

Among so many visitors, i can remember a group young Banker. Type of their query was just young as their profession. After gathering knowledge about our Product and Services, Market Segment, Target market etc. one of them asked me, “Why can't we just open a Bank Account for them and solve all the problems? ”.

Answer of that very simple question demands a lot of explanation.

Our company is a fintech startup tailored with financial services for Migrants workers in Malaysia and Singapore. It’s not always a pure financial product that we offer, rather it engages people financially.  For instance, we sell Bus Ticket which is not a financial product but it involves customer to visit bank, deposit money. Which, in other words, you might define as Financial Inclusion, through which you are actually giving the Access to Finance.

However, the question is, why we need fintech startups, where is white space!

To reach people in remote areas Banks need infrastructure, investment, manpower and inreturn they need profit. As we are talking about migrant market, its truly tough to get expected business volume and profit out of it. The volume of each transacted amount would be so small , cost of processing the transaction might surplus it. Maintenance cost of Bank for a migrants account might surplus total transaction volume of that account in a fiscal year. Moreover, Banks are mainstream of financial services, though they are offering some utility services but they are not designed for less educated, low earning migrant workers.

In addition to that, there is prime issue of legal documentation for staying and working as migrant. An undisclosable and unpredictable number of illegal immigrants are working in different countries across SEA who will not able to provide minimum documentation for KYC. A considerable number of people remained out of financial access and if summed up, a significant amount of money laying unbanked. It’s possible to address this pool of unbanked people if the operational expenses and bureaucratic documentation process of financial organizations’ can be kept minimum.

That is the very white space we are talking about. This is where the economy needs fintech stratups. Fintech startups of any startup generally works with small team full of hardworking and experienced people, they try innovative and less expensive way to get things done. They try new and to some extend impossible methods to get result, if any method turn out to give positive result and occurring less costs than usual, it becomes their SOP. Workflows are not confined into departments , alters process manual frequently to cope up with the wind of change. Focuses on main section, subsection even appendix of any constitution to keep harmony with regulatory bodies. Fixed assets are very less, human resources and operational expenses are utilised brilliantly to keep the business commercially viable.

Evidently, technology plays a big role all along. Primary objective remains to increase people engagement. This people engagement period is the one of the crucial period because most of the time it determines the survivability of the company. Irrespective of amount and volume, fintechs keep on engaging people, keep on giving financial access at a very minimum level. And at a certain point of time it shows its beauty, you will be in dilemma whether to ignore its total volume, its reach or its social impact in financial inclusion.     

It's somewhat impossible to run fintechs without mainstream financial institutions. Fintechs are not competitor nor substitute of them rather an extended wing that completes the ecosystem. Worldwide 2 billion adult unbanked people are the gap to reach sustainable economic development, the very white space, Fintech minds the Gap and hope they will fill the Gap with their own innovative capability.  



 

Singapore Fintech Festival 2017

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Shah Arafat Hossain

Shah Arafat Hossain

Operations Manager

MyCash Online Sdn Bhd

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Kuala Lumpur

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Fintech

Fintech discussions and conversations around the development of fintech.


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