CIMB Group latest to partner Startupbootcamp FinTech (Updated)
By Benjamin Cher October 9, 2015
- Applications open for next year’s accelerator batch
- Toast from first batch secures seed funding of US$850K
[UPDATED with more information on Toast's seed funding below]
FINTECH (financial services technology) accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech and Malaysia’s CIMB Group have announced a partnership that they said would give startups in the programme access to the region’s markets.
CIMB joins other banks like Singapore’s DBS and Malaysia’s RHB, with the latter recently announcing it has been appointed the exclusive partner to roll out the accelerator’s activities in Malaysia.
The CIMB partnership, announced at a Startupbootcamp FinTech social event in Singapore on Oct 8, will give startups in the accelerator programme access to South-East Asian markets, particularly Thailand and Indonesia.
“One of the main reasons why we are tying up with Startupbootcamp FinTech is because CIMB has always been focused on technology,” CIMB group chief executive officer Zafrul Aziz.
“We embarked on our digital banking journey five to six years ago when we started with Internet banking.
“I believe that the tie-up with Startupbootcamp FinTech will help us realise some of our key solutions for the future,” he told the media in a question-and-answer session before the announcement.
One of CIMB’s goals with the partnership is to scout for, and evaluate, new technology and ideas for the future, according to Zafrul.
“What is important to us is to get access to technology and ideas,” he said.
When pressed on the scope of the Startupbootcamp FinTech partnership, he declined to disclose any details on monetary or other types of support.
Regional access, Singapore roots
Startupbootcamp FinTech cofounder and global chief operating officer Marcus Gnick said the partnership with CIMB would give fintech startups in Singapore more regional heft.
“As we see fintech [taking off] across the region, not just Singapore, it is good to have a partner with a regional footprint in South-East Asia, in countries like Thailand and Indonesia,” he said.
“This gives our startups reach into these markets, and they can leverage the networks that CIMB has,” he added.
When asked why CIMB decided to partner Startupbootcamp FinTech in Singapore and not with an accelerator in Malaysia where it is headquartered, Zafrul pointed to the reach that Singapore gives the banking group.
“When you look at where the hub is in South-East Asia, and to a certain extent [all of] Asia, it is Singapore,” he said.
“I believe that being here in Singapore will give us better access to all the fintech players, and Singapore does provide that platform and access,” he added.
Trust a two-way street
The partnership also underlines the need for greater collaboration in the fintech space, between startups and corporate players, according to Startupbootcamp FinTech’s Gnick.
“We believe that fintech needs to be more about collaboration – startups and banks need to find a way to leverage each other’s talent, technology and resources,” he said.
“Having several partners on board gives startups a choice with whom they would want to work with – it’s all about educating both sides.
“Every partner has different focus areas, every partner brings a different specialisation to the table –startups can pick the right partner based on the area of focus, and vice versa,” he added.
According to Zafrul, CIMB looks to bring its experience and understanding of regulations across South-East Asia to bear for startups looking to go regional in a “relationship that works both ways.”
“If you look at the access that CIMB has, as a group we will be able to give our input of practical experience and understanding of regulations – input that can assist fintech startups,” he said.
“Regulatory environments are always evolving, and as a bank, we always try to challenge ourselves to improve within the boundaries [of the markets we operate in].
“Then we can look at some of the ideas that come up from these fintech companies and work together,” he added.
Next batch, Toast-ing success
At its social event, Startupbootcamp FinTech also announced that applications were now open for next year’s accelerator batch.
Also at the event, fintech startup Toast, which helps migrant workers remit money back to the Philippines, announced it has successfully closed a seed funding round of S$1.2 million (US$850,000).
Its founder and chief executive officer Aaron Siwoku (pic above) announced it to the crowd at a panel session after the CIMB partnership announcement, but did not give details.
However, in a statement issued after the event, Toast said the round was led by Aetius Capital and involved private equity firm ACE & Company.
“We saw many inefficiencies with the way money is sent by overseas workers,” said Siwoku.
“This is a local problem prevalent across the world and we felt Singapore would be a great place for us to start solving this problem as it is one of the most innovation- friendly centres in the world right now,” he added.
The one-year-old startup is aiming initially at Filipinos in Singapore and Hong Kong. It then plans to open up additional remittance corridors to countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand.
“The Philippines is the third largest remittance recipient globally, receiving more than US$28 billion in 2014,” said Startupbootcamp FinTech managing director Steven Tong.
“Toast’s solution is going to disrupt the traditional remittance industry by offering Filipino migrant workers a cheaper and more user-friendly solution,” he said in the statement issued by Toast.
The Toast app will be available via the Google Play store from November onwards, the company said.
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