Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020’s Fintech Superstars
April 6, 2020
Published in Fintech News Singapore
In keeping with annual tradition, Forbes has released its annual 30 Under 30 Asia list, which features 300 disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs from the region, all under the age of 30.
This year list sees 25 fintech professionals in the list compared to last year which saw 19 people make the cut
The following are the 25 fintech and finance superstars who made the cut:
Ryan Chew, 28 | Yi Ming Ng, 28, Singapore
Managing Partners, Tribe
Ryan Chew and Yi Ming Ng are cofounders and managing partners of Tribe Accelerator, the first blockchain accelerator supported by the Singaporean government. The accelerator raised more than $30 million since its launch in 2018, backed by the likes of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Temasek, Citibank, IBM and Intel. So far, it has invested in 19 startups from two batches with a combined value of more than $300 million. Tribe also runs a blockchain academy with scholarships available to developers across Southeast Asia.
Ajeesh Achuthan, 28, India
Ajeesh Achuthan is cofounder and CTO of Open, which helps businesses streamline their financial operations with its integrated platform for accounting and banking. Since its launch in 2017, Open says it has processed more than $10 billion worth of transactions with 350,000 businesses using the platform. In June last year, Open raised $30 million in Series B funding led by New York-based tech investment firm Tiger Global. Before starting Open, Achuthan cofounded fintech startup Zwitch in 2012, which was later acquired by Indian online payments company Citrus Payment Solutions in 2015.
Anderson Sumarli, 25 | Yada Piyajomkwan, 27, Indonesia
As M.B.A. classmates at Stanford, Anderson Sumarli and Yada Piyajomkwan launched Ajaib, a zero-commission investing platform targeting first-time Millennial investors in Indonesia, with the goal of increasing financial inclusion. Ajaib claims to be responsible for one-fifth of all new retail investors in Indonesia in 2019. A graduate of Y Combinator, the company has raised $2.1 million in funding from SoftBank, Insignia Ventures and Alpha JWC.
Hilfi Alkaff, 27, Indonesia
Hilfi Alkaff dropped out of his computer science Ph.D. program to join Silicon Valley startups Sift Science and Quora. He then returned to his native Indonesia to cofound his own startup, OY! Indonesia, a wallet aggregator for easier payments and financial management. It integrates with more than 100 banks and offers various payment solutions, including free interbank transfers in Indonesia, a popular feature in a country notorious for its expensive interbank transfer fees. Alkaff received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley and an M.Sc. degree in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Rohit Gajbhiye, 30, India
Rohit Gajbhiye is the founder and CEO of Financepeer, which graduated from Google’s Launchpad Accelerator India last year. The startup helps students pay school fees for the full academic year upfront in one installment, while students or their parents pay back Financepeer in monthly installments at zero interest and cost. Gajbhiye says Financepeer helped more than 750,000 students across more than 500 schools in India. By next year, it is aiming to help 2.5 million students from 1,800 schools. Gajbhiye holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay.
Michiteru Goto, 27, Japan
Payme operates an instant wage-payment app that allows workers to receive up to 70% of their salaries at any time, instead of waiting until the end of the month, to help cope with sudden expenses. The app has 200,000 users and 400 companies that also use the app to reduce their payroll processing costs. The startup raised $10.5 million in funding since its launch in 2017 and won the Nikkei FinTech Startups Award in 2018.
Arjun Ahluwalia, 27 | Adriel Maniego, 26, India
Cofounders, Jai Kisan
Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego quit their high-paying finance jobs in the U.S. and moved to an Indian village to start Jai Kisan, a fintech platform that helps borrowers in rural India get credit. Since its launch in April 2019, Jai Kisan has included more than 10,000 farmers across four states and partnered with five financial institutions. Along the way it has gained international recognition from IFC, ADB, Visa, Accion, NASSCOM, among others. Jai Kisan has raised $2 million from VCs and family offices.
Zac Liew, 28, Malaysia
Zac Liew is cofounder and CEO of Curlec. The fintech startup helps SMEs overlooked by traditional banks collect recurring payments with its automated platform, replacing manual methods like cash, checks or credit cards. Since its launch in 2017, Curlec says it has processed $50 million in transactions and more than 300 businesses currently use its platform, including SMEs, large companies and other fintech companies like Funding Societies and StashAway. The startup is backed by VC firms 500 Startups and Captii Ventures. Before starting Curlec, Liew was an analyst at Barclays in London.
Chester Szeen, 24 | Teresa Chan, 24, Hong Kong
Chester Szeen and Teresa Chan are the cofounders of Mellow. The Hong Kong-based startup operates a personal finance and digital payment app, which is connected to a Mastercard debit card, to help children learn about money management, such as saving toward a goal and keeping track of spending. Last year, it was one of 18 graduates from AppWorks, an AI and blockchain-focused accelerator in Taiwan. In 2019, it was named as one of the 12 top startups of Jumpstarter, a not-for-profit initiative curated by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund in Hong Kong. Mellow is supported by Cyberport, Accenture, the Japanese government, Mizuho Bank and New World Development.
Maxwell Meyer, 29, Thailand
Harvard alum and former McKinsey analyst Maxwell Meyer is cofounder and CEO of Masii.com. The website compares financial products such as credit cards, car insurance and personal loans to help users make better financial decisions. Meyer says more than 500,000 people use the platform each month and has made 6 million comparisons since its launch in 2015. The startup raised more than $5 million so far, including $2.43 million in a Series A round led by Thai conglomerate B.Grimm in 2018. Last year, Masii.com was named one of 50 emerging fintech companies globally by KPMG and Australian investment firm H2 Ventures.
Huy Nghiem, 28, Vietnam
Huy Nghiem is a Vietnamese-Australian who quit his finance job in Australia and returned to Vietnam to start Finhay, a micro-investment platform for Millennials, in 2017. Nghiem envisions Finhay as a one-stop solution where customers can manage their wealth seamlessly. It recommends multiple micro-financial products including saving, investment and insurance based on the customer’s personal information and risk assessment. The customers can then start building their wealth through Finhay with as little as $3. Finhay has received seven-figure funding from investors such as Insignia Venture Partners, H2 Ventures and Acorns cofounder Jeffrey Cruttenden.
Gaurav Kunwar, 28 | Harsh Pokharna, 28 | Aditya Prasad, 26, India
Three college friends — Gaurav Kunwar, Harsh Pokharna, and Aditya Prasad — founded in 2017 OkCredit, a book-keeping app for micro and small businesses which traditionally have maintained their accounts in handwritten ledgers. They have 6 million active monthly users who made 80 million entries in the app in January. The trio made it to Y Combinator in 2018. After a Series B financing round last year, OkCredit has raised a total of $83 million, including from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global.
Francis Plaza, 26, Philippines
Francis Plaza is cofounder and CEO of Phillipine-based PayMongo, an online payments processing platform. In September last year, just a few months after it graduated from Y Combinator and launched, the startup raised $2.7 million in seed funding from PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, San Francisco-based VC firm Founders Fund and fintech unicorn Stripe. Before starting PayMongo, Plaza was a software engineer at Oracle and cofounded online marketplace Muber. He graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering. He was admitted to the top institution when he was just 16 years old.
Andy Chan, 28 | Winston Wong, 28, Hong Kong
Founded in 2016, Qupital aims to provide financing to SMEs that are underserved by traditional banking institutions. The Hong Kong-based startup offers short-term lending and liquidity to companies and matches them with investors interested in covering the loan. Qupital claims to have funded loans and business invoices worth more than HK$1 billion (about $130 million). In March 2019, it raised $15 million in a Series A round of financing led by Chinese wealth and asset manager CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund. Its investors also include the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Chinese VC firm Gobi Partners.
Nick Williams, 28 | Tristan Cole, 21, Australia
Nick Williams and Tristan Cole are the cofounders and co-CEOs of Sempo, a blockchain-based cash transfer platform for NGOs to efficiently deploy cash-aid programs to people affected by humanitarian crises. The platform also does beneficiary identification, cash disbursement and program monitoring, allowing NGOs to save precious resources and time by using a single platform. Since launching in 2017, Sempo says its platform helped more than 50,000 people in Kenya, Vanuatu, Iraqi Kurdistan and refugee camps on the Syrian border. By daily users, the startup says its platform is one of the five most used finance applications on the Ethereum blockchain.
Ankit Singh, 29, India
Ankit Singh is a director at Wibmo, a payment processing services company based in Cupertino but mostly operating in India. At Wibmo, Singh is building a way for Indian workers to receive their pay for the days they worked or tasks completed, instead of waiting for their salary at the end of the month, thereby improving their financial freedom. This works by Wibmo paying the workers early and then their employers paying back Wibmo at a later date, allowing the businesses to improve their working capital. Singh joined Wibmo in 2017 after the company acquired Mypoolin, a payment technology startup he cofounded in 2014.
Joshua Smith, 29, Malaysia
Joshua Smith is cofounder and CTO of MyPay, an integrated online platform for payments to government agencies. Since its full launch in August last year, users can pay fines, bail and student loans to three of the 10 government agencies in Malaysia. So far, MyPay has more than 100,000 users, including 6,000 monthly active users. Before working on MyPay in 2018, Smith was an analytics lead at Uber, technology consultant at Accenture and an analyst at Citi.
Coronavirus: Venture Capital Firms Help Laid-off Start-up Employees Find New Jobs
April 1, 2020
Published in The Straits Times, by Shivraj Rajendran
SINGAPORE – Venture capital (VC) firms across South-east Asia have launched a ‘community-led’ initiative to help start-up employees laid off due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak find new opportunities.
The anchor of the initiative is a public database of affected employees who can opt to have their names, functions and contact details included in it. The database will be publicised on the social media platforms of the participating VC firms.
They include Saison Capital, FutureLabs, Jungle Ventures, Alpha JWC, Convergence Ventures, Patamar Capital, Rainmaking, TRIVE Ventures and Tribe Accelerator.
Interested applicants with at least one year of working experience can apply to have their names included on the database via a form. Their application will be verified by one of the supporting VC firms before being listed on the database.
The database will also include a list of companies that are still hiring in the region.
The initiative is spearheaded by Chia Jeng Yang, principal at Saison Capital; Simin Liu, an analyst at FutureLabs Ventures; and Rachael De Foe, a freelance communications consultant.
Mr Chia says the trio were inspired after seeing a similar effort by VC firms in the United States.
“People through no fault of their own have been laid off, and we want to create something that can help them here and now,” he said.
Said Joachim Vandaele, partner at FutureLabs Ventures: “Top talent is what makes or breaks ventures, so as an ecosystem, we have a collective interest and responsibility to keep the talent in South-east Asia. Customers come and go, financial capital flows in and out but human capital is what we need to hold onto.”
In the same spirit, Ms Elise Tan, a consultant who works with start-ups, has built a spreadsheet that matches start-up companies to volunteer mentors.
Interested volunteers or start-ups can fill up a form to have their names included. Once they have done so, they will be added to a LinkedIn group to be matched to each other.
So far, more than 60 individuals have signed up as volunteers and have pledged to mentor a start-up for one hour a week.
Said Ms Tan: “Covid-19 has affected many companies around the world. Start-ups with little resources and funding will be even harder hit.
“We are all banding together to help these start-ups by contributing our time on a pro bono basis”.
Read the original article here.
Startups in Singapore Blockchain Accelerator Tribe Raise S$21.5 Million
December 3, 2019
Published in The Business Times, by Claudia Chong
GOVERNMENT-BACKED blockchain accelerator Tribe Accelerator said its second batch of nine startups has raised S$21.5 million from external investors, including SGInnovate.
Tribe’s inaugural batch of 10 startups raised S$16.8 million. Another S$30 million is in the pipeline for both batches; discussions with investors are ongoing.
Among the portfolio companies in the second batch are supply chain solutions platform DiMuto; telemedicine startup WhiteCoat; Eximchain, which helps businesses transact and share information more efficiently and securely through blockchain technology; and Torus, a distributed private key management solution with a focus on cybersecurity.
Other participating companies are consumer advertising startup Affle; AID:Tech, which has created a solution to deliver aid, social welfare and traceable donations on the blockchain; Aqilliz, a hybrid advertising and customer loyalty management platform; distributed open source database service Bluzelle; and Pilab, which builds software for the communication and management of data across different platforms.
Tribe had a demo day for its startups in Singapore, and demo days will also be held in Dubai, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.
Ng Yi Ming, managing partner of Tribe, said: “We will continue to harbour companies with transformative innovations, that can change the face of the blockchain industry and benefit the end user – making the technology more mainstream.”
Tong Hsien-Hui, SGInnovate’s head of venture investing, said: “We are increasingly seeing more real-life use cases of blockchain technology across different industries… This partnership with Tribe allows us to get closer to the action and support some very promising startups through investments and venture building efforts.”
At the Singapore FinTech Festival X SWITCH 2019, Tribe inked an agreement with Dubai International Financial Centre FinTech Hive, the largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East. This will give Tribe access to a new pool of innovators, investors and corporate partners, said the firm in a press statement.
Tribe’s official partners include Enterprise Singapore, Temasek, BMW Group Asia, IBM, Intel and Nielsen.
Read the original article here.
Vulcan Post: IBM, Citibank, Ubisoft Joins The 'Tribe' As The Singapore Blockchain Accelerator Rebrands
September 20, 2019
Published in Vulcan Post, by Victoria Sek, 20 Sep
Tribe Accelerator, Singapore’s first blockchain accelerator backed by Enterprise Singapore, welcomes new partners onboard their business.
Joining their current fleet of government and corporate partners, including AXA, BMW Group Asia, Intel, IMDA, Nielsen, PwC, and Temasek, are IBM, Citibank, and Ubisoft.
The new partnerships were inked just after the successful completion of the inaugural batch of startups earlier in July 2019, according to a media release.
The addition of IBM, Citibank, and Ubisoft will grant participating startups more extensive access to international markets and resources beyond Singapore.
Promising growth-stage startups with market-ready blockchain solutions can tap into the three firms’ networks and either integrate their solutions into existing business units or tailored as end-user products.
Alan Lim, Asia Pacific Blockchain Leader, IBM, said, “Tribe Accelerator has displayed its capabilities on the international front with its list of industry partners.”
“Its speed at executing corporate-startup integration and partnership with established industry leaders gives us the confidence that this is only the beginning of their journey.”
“Tribe Accelerator’s capabilities and direction aligns with our long-term vision to bring business-blockchain to the forefront of market operations.”
Lin Hsiu-Yi, ASEAN and Singapore Head, Citi, said that as a leading global bank known for their digital innovation, they are happy to provide their expertise in financial services.
The bank is also happy to “actively partner Tribe in harnessing the power of blockchain technology which will unify and raise the standards for the betterment of the ecosystem”.
Launched last year as the only blockchain accelerator of its kind, Tribe Accelerator is now going into its second edition of its four-month programme.
The second cohort of startups will get access to their existing and new group of mentors, experts, international network of partners to help them scale globally.
Going beyond a typical accelerator programme, Tribe Accelerator has enhanced Singapore’s blockchain development and integrated Singapore’s GovTech OpenCerts with promising startups.
It has also gone on a global demo-tour across Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, and San Francisco, resulting in the startups raising over S$16.8 million within a short span of three months.
Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner, Tribe Accelerator, shared, “The success of Tribe Accelerator’s inaugural batch far surpassed our initial expectations.”
“By ensuring all parties are aligned with a common objective, it has greatly reduced information overlaps and made solution integration prompt.”
“We believe our nimbleness has given Tribe Accelerator the advantage and confidence from industry partners. The addition of IBM, Citibank and Ubisoft as our latest corporate partners re-affirms us that we are taking Singapore’s business-blockchain journey to new heights.”
With Tribe Accelerator’s extensive partner network, startups are able to connect directly with major corporates.
Mighty Jaxx is one such company that has gained “invaluable” access to the startup ecosystem and funding opportunities, thanks to Tribe Accelerator and Enterprise Singapore.
They were able to connect with strategic business partners and technological resources both locally and overseas, founder of Mighty Jaxx, Jackson Aw, said.
He added that the chance to be a part of the accelerator was a “game-changer” for the business.
“Our ‘graduation’ from this journey has empowered us to leverage emerging technologies like blockchain to continue growing Mighty Jaxx on a global scale and to better serve our community.”
Carl Wegner, Managing Director and Head of Asia at R3, stated, “Tribe Accelerator has shown incredible growth and results for its participating startups.”
“In this very short time, they have displayed their ability to solve real business problems in complex and highly-regulated markets.”
“Additionally, they have been able to identify tangible use-cases for blockchain. Tribe has proved its ability to make blockchain solutions that market-ready, and beneficial to everyday individuals.”
Building upon the momentum of the latest corporate partners, this second cohort likewise sees Tribe Accelerator identify companies who tap on blockchain for business solutions.
These companies come from various industries, including media and advertising, cybersecurity, and healthcare, on top of existing blockchain solutions in FinTech and supply-chain management.
Some of the new participants include, Torus, WhiteCoat, AID:Tech, and Affle Holdings.
Together with the slew of updates, Tribe Accelerator also announces the official rebrand of its organisation to Tribe.
Tribe will consist of three initiatives, OpenNodes, Tribe Accelerator, and Tribe Code.
This three-pronged approach reflects Tribe’s evolution to better tackle different gaps in Singapore’s maturing blockchain ecosystem.
Tribe’s new branding reflects the company’s approach towards bringing more comprehensive support in the industry.
Yi Ming assured that while the rebranding marks a new milestone for the company, every business decision they make begins with their stakeholders in mind.
“As we look to drive widespread adoption of blockchain technology across Asia, this rebrand enables us to take our capabilities out from the confines of the accelerator programme, and into distinct individual branches, serving an extended scope of work.”
Read the original article here.
Blockchain Accelerator Tribe Introduces OpenNodes to Build an Innovation Melting Pot
August 21, 2019
Published in e27, by Prisca Akhaya T.
OpenNodes has the support of IMDA to bring government agencies, corporate, and blockchain companies onboard.
Tribe Accelerator, a blockchain accelerator based in Singapore, announced the upcoming launch of OpenNodes, a web-based engagement platform supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA).
Tribe Accelerator said that it is meant to bring together government agencies, corporates, and blockchain companies onto a single online platform, fostering innovation and collaboration in the blockchain community.
With OpenNodes, enterprises and individuals from any level of expertise can take part in the ecosystem.
The platform’s key feature will include a directory listing of various stakeholders in Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem. Using the directory, startups can form industry-specific working groups to discuss how blockchain can be used across various verticals, such as mobility and healthcare.
Companies will also be able to connect with other global blockchain communities in cities such as Berlin, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, and Zug.
OpenNodes will also provide educational content to help enterprises glean insights into blockchain technology as well as facilitating discussions led by leaders of different industries on the platform.
Additionally, there will also be job listings that will connect talents to recruiters.
OpenNodes is expected to be launched to the public at the end of this year.
The promising world of blockchain
Blockchain technology presents a wealth of opportunities for enterprises to tap on and make their processes more transparent and secure. However, challenges remain constant, with the lack of collaboration and poor visibility into the blockchain industry that hinders mainstream adoption.
Philip Heah, Assistant Chief Executive, Technology Infrastructure Group, IMDA.l, highlights that there are still many existing blockchain solutions in the current market that are use-case specific and specialised.
“These solutions can provide greater value to the parties involved if they are participating in the ecosystem. This platform will bring the key stakeholders of the blockchain ecosystem closer together, consolidating efforts towards mass adoption,” said Heah.
Besides partnering IMDA, OpenNodes is also supported by more than 20 organisations, including:
Government Agencies: IMDA, Enterprise Singapore, Government Technology Agency (GovTech), Monetary Authority of Singapore, National Research Foundation, SGInnovate
Global Corporates: AXA, BMW Group Asia, EY, Fung Group Explorium, Nielsen, PwC, Temasek
Technology and Blockchain Companies: ConsenSys, Digix, Ethereum Foundation, IBM, Intel, R3, VeChain, Zilliqa
It is supported by Enterprise Singapore, a government agency, and includes corporate partners such as BMW, Intel, Nielsen, and PwC Singapore’s Venture Hub.
Read the original article here.
SGD 16.8 Million Raised for Blockchain Solutions Through Singapore’s Government Backed Blockchain Accelerator
July 4, 2019
Published in Fintech News Singapore
Today, Tribe Accelerator, Singapore’s first government supported blockchain accelerator, held its first ever Demo Day at Facebook’s Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Singapore. The Demo Day is part of a global demo tour that will showcase the market-ready solutions developed by Tribe’s participating companies.
Singapore’s demo day kickstarts a 2-week showcase across 4 major hubs across the world to demo their blockchain solutions. With the focus of developing blockchain solutions that can transform Smart Cities of the future, the batch one cohort will be exhibiting a diverse portfolio of use cases from verticals such as mobility and supply chain, data communications, fintech, insurtech and energy and sustainability.
The Global Demo Tour will gather key stakeholders and leaders from global corporates, blockchain companies, government agencies, as well as known investors.
More demo days will also be held in Shanghai, Seoul and San Francisco.
Tribe Accelerator has also facilitated the fundraising of SGD $16.8 million for its participating companies through its ecosystem of corporate and investor partners. Tribe thinks this is “unprecedented for a blockchain accelerator”, with more regional investments in the pipeline.
“Building a collaborative platform for corporations, government agencies and innovators to come together and solve real everyday problems, is the core objective of Tribe Accelerator. Our participants demonstrate that they have real market-ready solutions, and the market is responding with the quality and number of partnerships and investments channeled. People are genuinely eager for more everyday uses of blockchain and this is reflected in the uptake of regional investments, and corporate partners that are coming onboard in the months ahead.” Said Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner of Tribe Accelerator.
Among the first cohort of 10 participating companies showcasing market-ready solutions, one of Tribe’s highlights includes is design studio Mighty Jaxx. With an international fanbase spanning over 5 million users, Mighty Jaxx will showcase its Govtech OpenCert capabilities with embedded chips in their limited-edition collectibles. Buyers can verify the authenticity of their limited edition Mighty Jaxx collectibles, with production details recorded on blockchain. Transfer of digital ownerships for collectibles are also on the blockchain.
Another project highlighted by Tribe is the online platform Quotz, by sgCarMart, a Singaporean online car marketplace. sgCarMart is one of the nation’s second-hand car sellers, and it will introduce blockchain technology to its online car auction platform, Quotz, which can register the service history of vehicles in a digital maintenance book.
The goal is to offer a reliable common reference data log when negotiating their transactions, and is one of the many solutions in the market now aiming to do the same. It will help both parties work out fairer valuations of second-hand vehicles as the common reference data log records information and is untampered.
Additionally, Halal supply-chain solution company, WhatsHalal, will be introducing the next stage of its mobile app, allowing consumers to use their mobile phones to scan the validity of Halal-certified products for cross-referencing.
WhatsHalal is also partnering Indonesia’s state-owned products testing, analysis, and audit company, Sucofindo, one of the largest Halal auditors. This reflects the growing demand in the international Halal markets for such everyday practical solutions.
Pioneering smart-asset company, Digix, will also be showcasing the business-use case for authenticating and securing investment-grade gold bullion through blockchain. Retail investors benefit with the added accessibility of purchasing gold digitally and knowing that the physical equivalents are safely secured in Digix’s physical vaults.
These are just four examples amongst the other innovative products and services that will be unveiled on Tribe’s Demo Day in Singapore. Tribe Accelerator, supported by Singapore’s government, wants to become a neutral platform in driving the collaboration and growth of the blockchain ecosystem. Tribe Accelerator is a product-development focused accelerator. Tribe Accelerator’s official partners include Enterprise Singapore, BMW Group Asia, ConsenSys, IBM, Intel, Nielsen, PwC and R3 amongst others.
Read the original article here.