By @SimonCocking. Great interview with Gerben Visser who is doing exciting things in the FinTech space in Singapore and the wider Asian area.

What’s your background?

I am a Co-Founder of the Singapore FinTech Consortium, managing partner at IncubAsia Ventures and advisor to a number of early stage technology companies. I have gained over 12 years of international experience in private equity, mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance at RBS, Bank of America and Citigroup in Amsterdam, New York and London.

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I received a Master degree in Business (Finance & Economics) from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and dual Master degree in Business (Finance & Economics) from SKEMA, a Grande Ecole Superieure de Commerce in France. I am a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and has been a registered Securities & Regulations, Corporate Finance Advisor with the Financial Services Authority in the UK.

How did you end up doing what you do now?

I am passionate about technology, internet and finance, which led me to the interest in FinTech. FinTech is a rapidly expanding, highly innovative and a globally emerging sector. It is starting to transform parts of the financial services industry in a meaningful way. Especially in western developed countries like the US, UK and the Australia, FinTech is growing exponentially and billions of fund is placed to support the boom of FinTech.

The FinTech heat is also unstoppable in Singapore. Government bodies are heavily involved in FinTech activities, incumbents are setting up innovation labs, and a lot of FinTech funds are flowing in to Singapore and Southeast Asia. For Singapore to become the FinTech Hub in the region, collaboration and partnerships between market participants, which led me to co-found The Singapore FinTech Consortium to bring people together.

You’re involved in a lot of initiatives, do they cross fertilise and help you work on each of them?

Yes. We have various initiatives such as events, co-working space and online dashboard, the common aim of which is to bring FinTech enthusiasts and professionals together to foster partnerships and create new opportunities. As venture acceleration is also our main objective, trade mission is one of the most helpful and efficient ways. Furthermore, through our research, landscaping and survey, we can understand the FinTech ecosystem in Singapore better and also identify the gaps, which gives us great feedback to improve on our advisory and workshops.

Why is Singapore a good place for Fintech?

Firstly, Singapore is home to many regional HQs of large banks and technology companies. The confluence of its emerging status as a technology hub and its place as one of the world’s leading financial center points Singapore as a FinTech hub. Moreover, Singapore government’s support to FinTech and entrepreneurs is increasing, making it a more attractive place to start FinTech businesses here. MAS has set up a FinTech and Innovation group to formulate and develop regulatory policies and development strategies. Moreover, they have a number of public-private initiatives to drive the boom of FinTech such as the FinTech office and the FinTech Festival. Thirdly, Singapore is geographically located closer to the booming ASEAN region, providing closer access to opportunities arising from efforts to establish greater financial inclusion in the region through digital innovation.

Last but not least, Singapore has the privilege of having a glimpse into the future when we look at the more advanced economies in Europe and the US. Already, we are seeing the established banks in Singapore mirroring some of the strategies adopted overseas, such as establishing innovation centres, partnering with accelerators, establishing venture capital arms to acquire FinTech companies, and forming partnerships and deals with FinTech companies as well. The same can be said of the major technology companies and the usual suspects in the telecommunications industry. We anticipate further acceleration of such activities in the near future.

Tell us more about the Singapore FinTech Consortium, what is its goal?

The Singapore FinTech Consortium aims to further the development, interaction and acceleration of the FinTech ecosystem in Singapore and Southeast Asia. We foster synergies among market players, including government bodies, financial institutions, corporates, investors and innovators, who believe that technology can bring added value to the financial industry.

Through our FinTech incubation platform, we offer corporate incubation, research lab and venture acceleration as well as provide access to analytical tools and FinTech related resources. We believe that FinTech is a crucial infrastructure layer for the Southeast Asia region and for Singapore to maintain and strengthen its leadership in financial services.

Our Vision:

To be an effective platform for our partners to engage with multi-stakeholders to find solutions to implement and promote best FinTech innovation practices in a collaborative, open and transparent manner.

Our roles:

– Represent the Fintech ecosystem
– Uphold the Integrity of Partners
– Build Relationships within the Industry
– Collaborate with Regional and International Organizations

What trends and companies are you excited by?

Our company is inspired and validated by some of other successful organizations globally, such as Innovate Finance (UK), Stone & Chalk (Australia), Holland FinTech (Netherlands) and MaRS (Canada). They share a common factor of having representative organization lifting up and supporting the entire ecosystem in their respective economies. They bridge the gap between public and private sectors and act as a junction point for all the stakeholders in the FinTech ecosystem.

What tips would you give to a company looking to set up in Singapore?

Setting up businesses in Singapore is relatively safe and straightforward. There are lots of schemes and grants for startups and entrepreneurs. You should look out for different service providers like ACRA, IRAS and SPRING for business set up and grant information.

We have been invited to Innovfest Unbound, why do you think it will be good to attend, and what other things should be look out for when we are in Singapore?

Innovfest Unbound is hosted by NUS Enterprise and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore as part of the Smart Nation Initiative. It is a great platform for innovators, startups, investors and corporates for knowledge exchange and collaboration. You should also look out for the FinTech office which will be officially opened in May. It is a partnership between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and SG-Innovate, aiming to catalyze the creation and growth of startups in various tech verticals.

What’s next for you?

I will continue working on The Consortium and all the initiatives that would benefit the FinTech ecosystem in Singapore. In the previous year, we have established a strong local and global network. This year we will start to onboard them as our Partners officially and tie them together. Our online dashboard will be officially launch next month and we welcome everyone who is enthusiastic in FinTech to join as a Partner. In addition, we would work with the public and private sectors in various initiatives, such as education, events and co-working space. We will be engaged in more crossborder projects such as trade missions and global FinTech alliance.

Anything you would like to add?

If you are interested about the Singapore FinTech Consortium, you can contact us at [email protected] Subscribe our monthly newsletter for our latest updates through our website: www.singaporefintech.com.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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