venture capital

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is a reference in MedTech and new technologies as indeed Singapore aims to be at the upfront of a promising market with the right setup to attract both investors and innovators.

(Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/VisualVerve.SG)

Singapore is home to more than 60 MedTech companies which are mainly focused on research to develop new and innovative health care approaches. It is, indeed, a promising market. According to the Singapore Economic Development Board, the Asian medical technology market is expected to be the world’s second-largest by 2020, with a promise of a better life expectancy and quality of life.

In the last few years, the government has made a big effort to build a welcoming infrastructure for these businesses, either by investing in patient care based on a talent pool with big data and analytics skills, or by developing a supportive ecosystem which counts on research institutions, universities and startups, all of which provides the MedTech companies with a rich and fruitful research and development hub.

This ecosystem allows for companies like Tictrac – an app developing company which focuses on tracking health data and giving tips and information to its users -, to come up with solutions for patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases. In a recent interview, Martin Blinder, Tictrac CEO, confided that: “It is for people to find reliable information about the best way to reduce risk and improve their health. After meeting their doctor, people go home with some very high-level information, often go online and end up finding a lot of contradictory information or dangerous fat diets”. The company has a partnership with the Singaporean Ministry of Health, which aims to use more technology to prevent and manage diseases.

The successful combination of a friendly environment for MedTech innovation and public-private partnerships has pushed many companies to be more willing to invest in this market. In the last few years, a number of Singaporean IT businesses have set up MedTech operations in order to profit from the market’s good prospects. The electronic manufacturer Venture Corp is one of them and has been shifting their investment to LifeSciences and Medical Technologies, which now represent 43% of their revenues.

In a speech at a MedTech event last year, the Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran stressed the importance of investing in new health care technologies knowing that populations are getting old and that artificial intelligence is taking over most industries. “We know that the nature of jobs is changing profoundly, as technology and automation play an increasing role in driving innovation and operations,” he said. “We need to transform our societies and economies to become more age-friendly, and turn longevity into a positive force for economic and social development.”

The host city of SIGEF2018 next September is thus the perfect place to bring together innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Organized by Horyou, it will include a special panel on MedTech.

The city of Singapore hosts one of the most important global Fintech events, while giving full support to its startups and community of entrepreneurs.

Singapore

Funding, academic collaboration and public-private partnership. A fine recipe to develop a healthy and successful Fintech ecosystem. More the result of a strategy than coincidence, in the last few years, Singapore has seen its Fintech startup scene boom. The city has indeed done a lot to attract funders, notably via creating related events and supporting regional networking.

Part of this strategy rests on barring privileged silos. Rather than building on competition between large companies and small players, the government has decided to create the conditions for both to innovate and collaborate with each other. In fact, banks and insurance companies are setting up innovation labs and research centers in Singapore for startups to experiment and bring ideas to the market, while getting professional assessment and management consultancy.

According to the Singapore Fintech Map, the city hosts more than 200 Fintech companies, focused on diverse segments including digital banking, blockchain, data management and payment services. The good numbers are also due to the effort universities and research institutes are making to update their curricula by adding more Fintech topics. Startups and young entrepreneurs also can benefit from an annual Fintech Festival, organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks since 2016, and recognized in 2017 as the worlds’ largest Fintech Festival, hosting more than 25,000 participants from 100 countries.

As Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of MAS, said at the Festival’s opening ceremony last November: “The Fintech Festival is a synergistic platform for the global Fintech community to spark new ideas and gain valuable insights. It is a key thrust of our efforts to establish Singapore as a Smart Financial Centre and a transformational Fintech hub”. While organizing a Fintech Award and a Hackcelerator, the Festival is also a great platform for Fintech companies to attract investors and raise funding for their projects.

Singapore is also known for its Venture Capital (VC) scene, which helps Fintech startups to get funding and managerial support for their projects. While they grow, they can count on public infrastructure such as the LATTICE80, an innovation village in the heart of Singapore financial district which reduces costs for startups and gives them access to data centers and other services.

The host city of SIGEF2018 next September is thus the perfect place to gather innovators, entrepreneurs and social good doers from all over the world. Organized by Horyou, it will include a special panel on Fintech for social good.

Print

It might seem exaggerated, but fintech is going through challenging times. Since 2014, it has been pointed as an alternative for the increasingly regulated traditional financial markets and presented successful funding cases – at least, up to now. According to the research firm CB Insights, the investments on venture capital-backed fintech cooled off in the last quarter of 2015, despite reaching the best year in its history.

Besides, fintech might not be as “disruptive” as it wants to be. In a recent article published by The Financial Times, the venture capital executive Mark Tluszcz wrote about how “there has been very little innovation and nothing truly transformational” in fintech. According to him, most of their “hype” is not justified – they are just regular businesses.

What does innovation and transformation stand for, after all? Is it about processes, business models, solutions? For sure. But it is also about mission, values, culture, purposes. We can’t change the first ones without changing the latters, and this is why most fintech are being challenged right now. They are indeed presenting new market solutions and, at least technically, differentiating themselves, but with the same old thinking – profit for few and capital concentration.

The problem is “the same old thinking” – it doesn’t make sense for many actors in our globalized, sharing, collaborative society. It doesn’t sound interesting for the new generations, future clients and investors of this industry. We all like innovation, but we don’t want to use it for feeding the same vicious circle that created such global problems as poverty and inequality.

It is shameful that we, as an ever growing technological society, have 2,8 billion people living with less than 2 dollars a day. What is fintech doing to change this scenario?

A win-win situation

Last February, Horyou, the social network for social good, created the first global social currency, Spotlight. It is a fintech project, although Horyou is not a fintech company. Spotlight is a micro-funding tool that allows any member of the network to support social initiatives and non-profit organizations through a real digital currency. It also allows any member of the platform to get funds for their own projects and initiatives. And it opens a world of opportunities for investors thanks to its conscious capitalism background.

The innovation with Spotlight is it provides an alternative source of funding for hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs, youth, artists or organizations. It spreads innovation globally and it gives power and initiative to all its actors. “Spotlights is a revolution of internet which affects not only the Corporate Social Responsibility sector but the whole society on a global level”, says Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou.

There is hope. And that’s why I wish a long, long life for fintech, as it discovers the path that combines innovation, transformation and purpose for a better world.

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