Bambu Goes Global, Launches London Office, Adds Technical Talent

The news that robo advisor Bambu has opened a new office in London and won its first American client is a reminder that, in fintech, when the going is good, the good go global.

“We would like to announce a new client project based in America that we landed recently,” the Finovate Best of Show winning company reported in its blog Thursday morning. “We are looking forward to working with them on building a robo solution for their region and will update you all with more details as we get closer to launching it.”

The Asset Digital Awards highlights growth of banks’ digital offerings

NickWakefield_TheAssetaward_HK

THE process behind what appears to an end user as a seamless, simple, and intuitive digital solution, is often anything but, as new digital offerings have to run a rigorous gauntlet through countless technical and control-related checks before finally going live. The banks which put in the legwork to provide such seamless end user experiences, as well as successfully onboarding a significant number of clients to their digital offerings, are honoured at The Asset Triple A Digital Awards 2017.

Bambu wins Best of Show at Finovate Asia 2017

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Bambu, the leading digital wealth company in Asia, won the Best of Show Award at Finovate Asia 2017 in Hong Kong, yesterday.

Finovate is a series of conferences focused exclusively on showcasing the best and most innovative new financial and banking technologies. Finovate began in New York 2007, and today it consistently attracts large, high-impact audiences of senior financial and banking executives. The Best of Show awards at Finovate are highly coveted, and many past winners have gone on to great success.

My fintech story: I want to transform financial services

Millennials are starting all the fintechs, right? Not quite. Aged 50, ex-broker Ned Philips is bucking the trend after spotting a gap in the robo-advice market. 

Ned Philips, founder and CEO of fintech firm Bambu, is a perfect example of how age is just a number. Running his own fintech start-up at 50, we caught up with him on his early years at the heart of the fintech revolution, his journey so far, and tips for fintechs when collaborating with a bank.

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DBS Bank Hunting For a Robo-Adviser

Singapore's largest lender DBS is looking to add a robo-adviser solution to its product suite, finews.asia can reveal exclusively.

DBS Bank is looking for a partner to work on a robo-adviser, a source familiar with the matter told finews.asia. While Asia boasts a vibrant and expanding wealth technology scene, no significant deals have been struck. Local banks are working closely with startups, but there has been no major investment yet.

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Bangkok Bank wants to put Thailand in the Fintech Hub race

Thailand’s first global Fintech accelerator program, Bangkok Bank InnoHub, has completed its inaugural program with the eight participating startups pitching their innovative technologies to Thai and international investors on Demo Day.

Selected from 199 applications across 32 countries, eight startups have successfully completed the 12-week intensive program at Bangkok Bank, receiving expert coaching and advice from dedicated mentors within the Bank and its corporate innovation partner, Nest, in areas such as technology, business development and finance in the context of market and regulatory conditions in Thailand and the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC.

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Franklin Templeton's robo tie-up could be first of many

The US asset manager has strategically invested into a Singapore-based robo services firm. Other fund houses could follow as automated investing continues to rise across Asia
 

 Source: Asian Investor

Source: Asian Investor

Franklin Templeton Investments' (FTI) decision to invest into Singapore-based robo services company Bambu could be the first of similar tie-ups, as asset managers seek to benefit from the huge potential of automated investing in Asia, say industry observers. 

Top FinTech Startups in Singapore

Singapore has been a hotbed for fintech innovation, as an Asian and global leader, recently. Establishment of a world class fintech hub like LATTICE80 and support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has provided for the right environment to boost fintech innovation. With a small population, the fintech products being developed in the country are primarily focused as B2B solutions. B2C fintech products have markets in the South-East Asian region, similar to Hong Kong as an entry point to China.

Standard Chartered Regional CIO: building an innovative, creative and risk-taking mindset

The banking industry is changing rapidly in the digital age. Banks have to keep up with the pace of technological changes to meet customer needs and stay competitive. Peter Clark, Standard Chartered’s regional CIO of Greater China & North Asia, noted a CIO has to maintain the integrity and security of a bank’s systems while driving innovation and creativity and building a risk-taking mindset.

 Source: Computer World Hong Kong/ Standard Chartered Bank

Source: Computer World Hong Kong/ Standard Chartered Bank

CWHK: What were the biggest challenges during your career?

Peter Clark (PC): The toughest time was a major system outage that I dealt with in 2006 when I was working with my previous employer. Our bank was impacted by the Taiwan earthquake that broke a number of submarine cables and disrupted international communications.... 

HKCSView: Robo-advisory in Asia -- to be or not to be

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has generated a lot of hype lately with AlphaGo defeating Chinese Go master.  In the world of finance, perhaps the most widely known application of AI (at least to the public) is robo-advisory.

Generally, a robo-advisor aims to construct an investment portfolio that meets an investor’s financial goals in an automated fashion. The advisory services industry in the US is undergoing significant transformation in the way it is becoming more customized.  Thus, robo-advisors have been growing rapidly and leading new players like Betterment is capturing total Assets Under Management (AUM) that exceeds US$7 billion. The incumbents are also rolling out their digital platforms.

Say hello to the new investment advisor – your local telco

In the wealth management space, financial companies will not be the dominant players. It will be telecommunications players, consumer brands, tech companies like ANT Financial and Tencent.

“If you have two main attributes – trust and customers – you can offer financial services.

“If you have a huge number of customers that trust you, you can offer financial services including robo advisory. Banks will still have a lot of the customers but the biggest growth from 2017, 2018 and 2019, will be companies that have now become financial services companies because they have customers that trust them,” predicts Ned Phillips (photo/video below), founder and CEO of Bambu, a B2B robo advisory firm based in Singapore.

Robo-Advisory firm Bambu sees Huge Potential for FinTech in Asia

 港銀近年致力發展金融科技(FinTech)應用,與渣打銀行合作、新加坡初創企業Bambu,看好亞洲帶領全球的金融科技發展潛力,目標未來3至5年內成為區內領先的智能財富管理公司。

去年2月成立的Bambu,主力研發智能軟件及投資方案以提高財富管理效率。公司上月於金融科技活動示範其中一項軟件功能,客戶只需輸入儲蓄用途及目標金額,軟件即可計算出在通脹等因素影響下,達成目標所需的時間及計劃。

亞洲平台僅逾10家 機遇大

本身從事金融業的創辦人及行政總裁Ned Phillips接受訪問時稱,選擇亞洲作為目標市場,主要是看好區內對智能財富管理的需求,「智能財富管理平台(robo-advisor)在美國及歐洲可能有100、50家公司,但在亞洲只有10至20家,反映龐大的機遇。」

中國向來是亞洲的主要市場,Bambu現階段卻未涉足內地。他續指,當地市場競爭激烈,作為外資企業不會貿然進入中國市場,必須覓得合適的夥伴,首選內地金融機構。

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English translation

Robo-Advisory firm Bambu sees Huge Potential for FinTech in Asia

Hong Kong banks have been strongly pushing for the implementation of FinTech in recent years. Bambu, a Singapore startup working with Standard Chartered Bank, sees huge potential for Asia to lead the global advancement of FinTech. They aim to become the region’s leading Robo-Advisory firm within the next 3 to 5 years. 

Founded in February last year, Bambu has been developing intelligent software and investment solutions to increase the efficiency of wealth management. The company demonstrated one of its software features at a FinTech event last month, where a client is only required to input the purpose of saving and initial investment sum to begin. The software then calculates the time period and financial plan required to achieve the client’s goals while adjusting for external factors such as inflation. 

Huge Opportunity in Asia with only 10+ Platforms Available

As someone with experience in the financial industry, Founder and CEO Ned Phillips said in the interview that the main reason for choosing Asia as the target market is the huge demand for Robo-Advisors in the region. While there are over 100 Robo-Advisory firms in the US and over 50 in Europe, there are only between 10 to 20 such firms in Asia, reflecting a huge market opportunity. 

Although China has always been the primary market in Asia, Bambu has yet to step into mainland China at its current stage. He explained that as a foreign firm, they will not enter the Chinese market hastily due to fierce competition in the local finance industry, choosing instead to select a mainland financial institution to work with as a partner. 

“Starting a company is never easy, but now is the best time to do it.” Phillips explained that it isn’t easy to convince financial institutions to take up FinTech solutions. However, more banks all over the world are beginning to search for new technologies and hence are more open to trying out new solutions. This global push has no doubt been beneficial to Bambu. 

Receiving Enquires from Banks nearly Everyday

In its 2 rounds of funding, Bambu has raised approximately USD$1.3 million in investments and hopes to raise a new round of USD$3.5 million soon. He revealed that the market demand for the latest round of funding has been intense, having reached the full target sum in a short period of time. Currently, they are receiving business enquiries from different banks nearly every day. The current situation is exceptionally optimistic for the company with an estimated revenue growth of 280% this year, reaching a total of USD$1.5 million. 

Standard Chartered initiates two POCs with fintech startups

 Credit: MIS ASIA

Credit: MIS ASIA

Two fintech startups under the second batch of the SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator have initiated Proof of Concept (POC) projects with Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong.

The first startup is Bambu, a business-to-business (B2B) robo-advisory company that builds intelligent software and investment solutions to improve the efficiency of wealth management.

The second is KYC Chain, which offers a platform that provides greater convenience and security to users of distributed ledger technology (also known as blockchain). The platform allows users to manage their digital identities securely while businesses and financial institutions are able to manage customer data in a reliable and easy manner.

Commenting on the achievement, Veronika Kuznetsova, SuperCharger's Managing Director, said: "Such an achievement highlights the effectiveness of SuperCharger as a sustainable model for facilitating dialogues between the decision makers of the financial industry and the forward-thinking techpreneurs from startups, which ultimately leads to the advancing of the fintech ecosystem in Asia."

SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator is a 12-week accelerator that aims to enable international growth stage companies to expand their operations within Asia. It is backed by Standard Chartered Bank and Fidelity International.

Fintech startups under the programme are given access to mentors to venture capitalists, government officials, as well as SuperCharger's 2,000 square feet co-working office.

"Standard Chartered Bank is proud to partner the Supercharger FinTech Accelerator Programme, which gives us the opportunity to team up with the brightest technology companies in our Asian footprint and to deliver the best service to our clients. We are delighted that the programme is taking place in Hong Kong, a key market for us, giving promising fintechs a springboard to the rest of Asia," saidShameek Kundu, Standard Chartered's Global Head of Data, Technology Strategy and Innovation.

SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator 3.0 will begin accepting applications in the summer of 2017.

Source: MIS Asia

Singapore to send delegation of 11 startups to TiEcon 2017 to strengthen ties with Silicon Valley

TiE Singapore is sending a delegation consisting of 11 startups and key players in the local ecosystem to attend this year’s TiEcon in Silicon Valley.

For the uninitiated, TiE or The Indus Entrepreneurs (the founders came from South Asia, hence the name) is a pioneering entrepreneurial organisation that began in 1992 with the aim of helping entrepreneurs build their companies.

Since then, it has grown to 61 chapters in 18 countries across five continents, and claims a membership base of over 12,000.

Some of its renowned past speakers include Reid Hoffman, Co-founder, LinkedIn, Drew Houston, Co-founder & CEO, Dropbox, Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo and Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

The Singapore delegation, TiE Singapore, led by Puneet Pushkarna, TiE Chairman and General Partner of Solmark Ventures, will aim to strengthen ties between Singapore startups and the Silicon Valley ecosystem. The 11 startups span across a range of verticals including data analytics, fintech, and sustainability. They are:

Advanced Ophthalmic Innovations

Advanced Ophthalmic Innovations (AOI) aims to tackle the world’s second leading cause of blindness Glaucoma — a condition that damages the eye’s nerve through a build-up of pressure in the eye — using a glaucoma drainage device that regulates intraocular pressure in the patient’s eye.

BigTapp

BigTapp is a SaaS company that delivers customer and business insights using big data and analytics.

billionBricks

billionBricks is a non-profit innovation studio that builds scalable and sustainable shelters and infrastructure for the homeless and victims displaced by disasters.

Ideatory

Ideatory’s product Impress.AI uses AI to help employers screen candidates.

Planar Investments

Planar Investments’s apps such as TrackWealth help clients track and manage their investment portfolios.

PolicyPal

PolicyPal is an insurtech statup. Its app uses a dashboard to display existing insurance coverage, payment and renewal dates. Consumers will also be able to check outstanding insurance payment amounts, as well as policy expiry and payment dates.

FOMO Pay

FOMO Pay provides the tools to help businesses integrate popular digital payment platforms such as WeChat Payments, Baidu Wallet, China UnionPay and PayPal.

O2O Technologies

O2O’s product Kristal is an AI-powered online asset management tool that allow traders to broadcast their money management skills and investors to match with traders that best suit their investment objectives

Hearti Lab

Hearti Lab is a HR management platform that allows HR managers to manage employee processes such as timesheets, payroll and claims, employee benefits, and health insurance programmes. It also provides a chat messenger and a mobile app to engage with employees.

Dathena Science

Dathena Science makes data governing more accurate and simplified using machine learning and AI.

Bambu

Bambu is a fintech startup that provides white label robo advisor solutions for financial institutions.

Selection process

These startups will be selected based on these four factors: innovativeness; utility (solving a real problem); global applicability (especially in the US; and ability to be value accretive. They will receive pitch training and business mentoring in Singapore before they exhibit at the conference.

Additionally, since TiEcon is supported under IE Singapore’s iMAP (International Marketing Activities Programme) — which is designed to help SMEs and start-ups gain market access through participation in international trade fairs and missions — these startups will have up to 70 per cent of their core expenses paid for.

At the conference, the 11 startups will not only be exhibiting but will also undergo a boot camp with accomplished Silicon Valley mentors and entrepreneurs in a small-group setting. Selected startups will also have the opportunity to present to a panel of investors.

Also Read: IoT is a US$6 trillion dollar industry, but is the term even accurate in 2017?

Joining the 11 startups will be key movers in Singapore’s ecosystem. They include Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Roy Teo, Director, Fintech & Innovation Group of MAS and Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate. These delegates will be speaking at the conference.

Source: Yahoo

The Demo Day That Closed With The Bell At The Hong Kong Stock Exchange

 Photo credit: Oddup

Photo credit: Oddup

SuperCharger Fintech Accelerator 2.0 held their Demo Day yesterday at the Hong Kong Exchange Square, the home of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong since the 1980s. Around 500 guests attended to watch, 7 startups pitch. The batch’s 8th startup X Notes Alliance was absent. The Demo Day later ended with an emotional speech by Janos Barberis, founder of SuperCharger, and the loud ringing of a bell, signaling the closing of the day’s trade. Read more about the Accelerator and startups background information here.

Oddup has rated our top pick in this batch.

Bambu

Bambu was the winner of Best Early Stage Startup Award at Fintech Finals 2017 in Hong Kong in February. They are also Oddup’s top pick from SuperCharger 2.0.

Founded in 2016 by Ned Phillips, Bambu has built a range of applications for use by businesses seeking to offer their customers automated, technology-augmented investment services. The company’s B2B Robo Advisor offers companies, financial and consumer brands offers the ability to integrate and benefit from the shift in digital wealth.

Industry: Oddup notes that the demand for integrating robo advisor technology is huge as banks are tapping into the millennial generation, which heavily depends on technology and mobility. Any solution that can provide banks cost effective and efficient entry point into the world of digital wealth would be very welcomed.

Market: Bambu is riding on the right trend by being a player on the B2B, rather than the B2C space. In the B2C space, wealth management startups will find it very difficult to gain traction since the general public is risk adverse and the acceptance of fintech is still low. Until the public changes their mindset on fintech, Bambu need not compete in the B2C area where supply of similar startups is high and consumer demand is low.

Expansion: Going forward, the company can scale from a B2B business model and later to B2B2C as banks’ distribution partners. In Asia, where general public still trust and rely heavily on banks, Bambu’s B2B2C position can take advantage of their trust in banks, making its product acceptance higher. For now, the B2B approach was proved to be right as the company has already clinched two B2B contracts in the first 4 months after product was launched.

Synergy with SuperCharger: Needless to say, SuperCharger, as a Hong Kong-based Fintech accelerator, can definitely be a stepping stone for Bambu to open its reach to financial market. It is also quite obvious that Standard Chartered Bank, one of SuperCharger’s main strategic partners, can be one of Bambu’s potential clients. Came as no surprise, at the Demo Day held yesterday, we confirmed that Bambu has signed PoC with Standard Chartered, with the product to be developed in the next 3 months.

SuperCharger – Fintech Accelerator…

Janos Barberis, founder of the SuperCharger, ended the Demo Day with an emotional speech. Starting his journey 3 years ago through sending a tweet out to Huy Nguyen Trieu, CEO of the Disruptive Group, Janos initiated the accelerator idea in London, and brought it to Hong Kong with the vision of tapping into the growing demand in Asia. Since then, SuperCharger introduced over 38 POCs, pilots and contracts (and pipeline), held 16 workshops and helped fundraised USD 600K committed investments for 2.0 cohort, while 1.0 alumni raised USD 80 million since last year's Demo Day.

Now strategically located in Hong Kong, SuperCharger is the first FinTech accelerator program dedicated to both startup and more established tech companies aiming to capture the Asian growth market. The program leverages on Hong Kong’s traditional strength as Asia’s finance and technology gateway.

April 11, 2017 marks the iconic day of SuperCharger.

Once again, congratulations to Janos and the amazing SuperCharger team!

Source: Oddup