The Fintech Festival in Singapore has become an important date in the calendar of fintech companies. More than 60,000 participants from 130 countries are expected to take part at the event happening this year. Major banks in the region such as DBS, OCBC or UOB will be present, but also American giants such as Google Pay and JP Morgan and, of course, fin-tech companies from all over the world. There will be hundreds of attendees but five companies stand out from the crowd.
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Cashoff combines open banking and cashback
Open banking solutions have no borders. The British start-up Cashoff is present in Hong Kong and Moscow and aims to develop its business in Southeast Asia. The start-up offers open banking solutions to financial institutions, like the French Budget Insight and the Swedish Tink. It also provides APIs that enable bank clients to categorize their expenses and benefit from personalized advice. The start-up was created in 2013 and stands out from its European competitors thanks to its cashback function.
Unlike cashback solution providers who connect to distributors and merchants, Cashoff plugs directly to manufacturers like Coca-Cola or Ariel. Today, fin-tech collaborates with around 100 brands and claims 50 client banks. On the business model side, it charges an installation fee, a monthly subscription and recovers a percentage of the cashback. Cashoff has also developed a BtoC cashback application, called Yepy, which is more of a showcase.
Covergo digitizes all insurance
Insurers can turn to Covergo to catch up with banks in the digital field. This start-up is based in Hong Kong and offers insurers a way to digitize their products via an API. It can be used to digitize claims reports, calculate real-time pricing and automate administrative processes. It provides agents with a platform on which they can find all kinds of data on their customers.
Covergo has 40 clients, including major names such as the Hong Kong entities of Chubb and Generali.
Pand.AI puts banks in chat rooms
Chatbots are a puzzle in banking and insurance. Pand.AI provides personalized chatbots based on deep learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP), which allows it to effectively understand users’ questions, unlike many chatbots that are in fact dynamic FAQs. Pand.AI offers three use cases: a marketing-oriented chatbot (to generate leads), a customer service chatbot (to check your balance for example) and a chatbot to boost advisor productivity (to look for information on complex products for example).
It is possible to integrate the chatbot into the bank’s application but also into messaging systems such as Whatsapp, Messenger or WeChat. For the moment, chatbots are available in English, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian and soon in Thai. Pand.AI has signed with 10 major customers including UBS and Allianz, who pay a subscription to the service. With presence in Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, and China), Pand.AI plans to expand in the coming months to the Middle East and looks to Europe too.
‘Know your customer’ verifies the identity of bank customers
‘Know your customer’ or KYC is the name given to the process of verifying a client’s identity and now also the name of a Hong Kong start-up launched in 2017. It provides financial institutions with a platform that allows them to quickly verify the identity of their individual and corporate clients. At ‘Know your customer’, the onboarding of a corporate customer takes 1 day, compared to 26 days in a traditional bank.
For individuals, the start-up checks identity documents, conducts facial recognition and verifies geolocation. The business model is based on a license and a percentage. Know your customer claims 50 customers including major Asian banks (whose names are not disclosed) and Hamburg Commercial Bank. The company’s 50 employees are located in offices in Dublin, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai. Another office will open in France next year. The fintech company is already in discussion with French banks following its visit to the Village by CA, Crédit Agricole’s accelerator. It is expected to be profitable by mid-2020.
Merkle Science detects illegal crypto transactions
When we talk about crypto-currencies, we often hear the words “illegal”, “money laundering” or “drugs”. Merkle Science enables crypto exchanges and regulators to detect and prevent the illegal use of cryptocurrencies. This tool analyzes the risk of a person or rather a blockchain address. “More specifically, a customer asks us to analyze an address and we look at his last activities on the blockchain,” says Mriganka Pattnaik, CEO of Merkle Science. For the moment, the start-up only allows us to analyze transactions in Bitcoin and Ether, the two most common crypto-currencies, but plans to add Litecoin, Dash and XRP (Ripple’s crypto-currency) in the coming months.
Based in Singapore, Merkle Science has already signed with Hong Kong and Australian exchanges as well as the Singaporean government. Fintech charges a monthly or pay-per-use subscription, if a company just wants to check whether only one customer is at risk. With about 15 employees, Merkle Science hopes to expand into Australia next year and later into the United States and Europe. It hopes one day to offer its solution to banks once they fully enter the world of cryptocurrency.
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