The opening of new innovation labs by ANZ and DBS in Singapore signal the start of a week-long Fintech Festival organised by the island state's central bank in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore.
Close to 11,000 participants from more than 50 countries have registered for the inaugural Festival, which kicks off with an island-wide Innovation Lab Crawl, where more than 20 spaces will open their doors to visitors. This will be complemented by a 'Hackcelerator Demo Day' to showcase products developed by 20 teams selected from amongst more than 650 global submissions, to solve specific problem statements solicited from the financial industry.
Joining in the carnival, DBS Bank and ANZ have each taken the wraps off new labs set up to explore the future of financial services in the Asia Pacific region.
Located at the Sandcrawler Building in Fusionopolis, DBS DAX is a 16,000 sq ft innovation space that has project pods and spaces, journey rooms, co-working spaces for up to 100 people as well as an auditorium and cafe.
Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank says the bank wants to be considered as a 22,000 person startup. "DBS Asia X underscores DBS’ ongoing commitment to shaping the future of banking and embracing the future of work. It is a purpose built facility for DBS employees from all over the region to come together, design and develop iconic customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader fintech community"
This year, more than 5,000 DBS employees were exposed to agile methodology and other digital concepts through 'customer journey' workshops and hackathons held across the region, he adds.
ANZ, meanwhile, has opened a facility dubbed ANZ BlueSpace from which it plans to partner with local startups, government and academic institutions to incubate new innovations for the institutional banking marketplace.
David Green, ANZ CEO Singapore and head of South East Asia and India, says: “Singapore’s emerging position as a global fintech hub makes it an ideal base and testbed for us to solve current business challenges with new solutions. We see a clear opportunity to build on this by tapping into Singapore’s thriving fintech community and developing the capabilities we offer our institutional customers."
Other news from the Festival comes from IBM's BlueMix Garage in Singapore and the formation of a partnership with local blockchain startup Kyck! to create a platform with video conferencing and encrypted document submission capabilities for the secure on-boarding of new customers. The platform aims to provide identification validation through a trusted blockchain based business network that will potentially include banking and governmental entities.
Singapore's fintech ecosystem is also celebrating a couple of big ticket funding rounds for local startups. Active.ai, which uses artificial intelligence to deliver virtual assistant banking services, has raised $3 million in funding from IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital, while B2B fintech firm MC Payment reportedly raised $3.5 million from an investor in Thailand.