How You Can Access Asia’s Thriving Fintech Scene

janos barberis asia fintech

Janos Barberis (left) with CFTE co-founder Huy Nguyen Trieu (right)

Fintech in Asia is a thriving industry – that much is unquestionable. With numerous firms enjoying success across the region, it can seem to outsiders that the continent is perfectly suited for developing innovative new ideas in financial technology. But is this really the case? On January 11th 2019, we invited Janos Barberis, founder of SuperCharger (Asia’s largest FinTech Accelerator) to lead a free live webinar with our co-founder Huy Nguyen Trieu. Together, they examined the growth of Asian Fintech startups and discussed the routes one could take to access this thriving scene.

There were three core aspects to the discussion on Fintech in Asia:

  1. Janos’ story of moving from London to Asia.
  2. The role of Fintech in Asia, and what makes the region special.
  3. How you can access Asia’s Fintech scene, and the keys to successfully launching a startup.

Janos opened with a brief summation of his history as a graduate of in a post-financial crisis London, finding himself working on the business plan for challenger bank Lintel. This experience informed his decision to travel to Asia and start SuperCharger, which would later become Asia’s leading Fintech Accelerator. He explained that he saw the same trifecta of reasons present in Hong Kong that made London a leading financial hub.

London was:

  1. A leading financial centre.
  2. Had leading minds in finance.
  3. Held great wealth and investment opportunities.

Hong Kong also featured these characteristics.

He expanded on this in saying,

At the time, Hong Kong had a very efficient financial system, without the financial crisis of Europe. There was no urgent pressure to reinvent themselves because the system was working fine.

Examining how SuperCharger first launched, he stressed how the company was different. Most accelerators were built on U.S business models, wherein you take an idea; you build a business; you demo a product and you raise money from that demo and go to market. This would not have been applicable to finance, however, as banks require maturity, scability and quick results from potential investments. Therefore, before they could access Asia’s under tapped market, the company had to demonstrate that accelerators could hold value while marketing cultural change.

To give context into how the Fintech scene rose, Janos offered some insight into the goals his accelerator held in promoting their own cohorts. The idea was simple: import the security and expertise of challenger banks & peer-2-peer lending into Asia. This way, foreign companies would impart their know-how and maturity onto local companies, who may still be immature in the market.

The approach led SuperCharger to lead 5 cohorts thus far, 3 in Hong Kong and 2 within Malaysia, in total overseeing 46 companies through their route-to-market in Asia. Interestingly, he noted, the process for a company to dominate a market is around 3 years. For instance, Neat, a challenger bank focused on SME lending, took this amount of time to dominate the region.

To break down the typical 3 years a startup faces to dominate a given market in Asia:

  1. The first year will be about gaining brand awareness and getting traction with investors.
  2. The second year will entail your startup swallowing local market share.
  3. The third year will be the big one – expansion into regional markets.

Janos also examined the unique opportunities present in Asia unlike in Europe; he offered Mobile Wallets as a differentiator between the two markets:

  • Europe has roughly equal market penetration of bank branches and mobile wallets.
  • Asia, meanwhile, has triple the amount of mobile wallet usage.

This means there is no need to build banks traditionally in Asia, as any startup can immediately seek to exploit the mobile banking space.

To conclude, the above insight illustrates the foundational strength of Fintech in Asia, and details why Fintech has major successes across the wider APAC. For a comprehensive look into exactly why this is the case, and to hear Janos’ responses from viewers, including whether “European fintech will ever be stop Asia’s dominance in the industry”, we highly encourage you to check out the entire webinar for FREE – here on demand.

As always, for the latest developments and events in Fintech, feel free to subscribe to our free newsletters below!

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

How You Can Access Asia’s Thriving Fintech Scene

janos barberis asia fintech

Janos Barberis (left) with CFTE co-founder Huy Nguyen Trieu (right)

Fintech in Asia is a thriving industry – that much is unquestionable. With numerous firms enjoying success across the region, it can seem to outsiders that the continent is perfectly suited for developing innovative new ideas in financial technology. But is this really the case? On January 11th 2019, we invited Janos Barberis, founder of SuperCharger (Asia’s largest FinTech Accelerator) to lead a free live webinar with our co-founder Huy Nguyen Trieu. Together, they examined the growth of Asian Fintech startups, as well as discussing the routes one can take to access the thriving scene.

There were three core aspects to the discussion on Fintech in Asia:

  1. Janos’ story of moving from London to Asia.
  2. The role of Fintech in Asia, and what makes the region special.
  3. How you can access Asia’s Fintech scene, and the keys to successfully launching a startup.

Janos opened with a brief summation of his history as a graduate of in a post-financial crisis London, finding himself working on the business plan for challenger bank Lintel. This experience informed his decision to travel to Asia and start SuperCharger, which would later become Asia’s leading Fintech Accelerator. He explained that he saw the same trifecta of reasons present in Hong Kong that made London a leading financial hub.

London was:

  1. A leading financial centre.
  2. Had leading minds in finance.
  3. Held great wealth and investment opportunities.

Hong Kong also featured these characteristics.

He expanded on this in saying,

At the time, Hong Kong had a very efficient financial system, without the financial crisis of Europe. There was no urgent pressure to reinvent themselves because the system was working fine.

Examining how SuperCharger first launched, he stressed how the company was different. Most accelerators were built on U.S business models, wherein you take an idea; you build a business; you demo a product and you raise money from that demo and go to market. This would not have been applicable to finance, however, as banks require maturity, scability and quick results from potential investments. Therefore, before they could access Asia’s under tapped market, the company had to demonstrate that accelerators could hold value while marketing cultural change.

To give context into how the Fintech scene rose, Janos offered some insight into the goals his accelerator held in promoting their own cohorts. The idea was simple: import the security and expertise of challenger banks & peer-2-peer lending into Asia. This way, foreign companies would impart their know-how and maturity onto local companies, who may still be immature in the market.

The approach led SuperCharger to lead 5 cohorts thus far, 3 in Hong Kong and 2 within Malaysia, in total overseeing 46 companies through their route-to-market in Asia. Interestingly, he noted, the process for a company to dominate a market is around 3 years. For instance, Neat, a challenger bank focused on SME lending, took this amount of time to dominate the region.

To break down the typical 3 years a startup faces to dominate a given market in Asia:

  1. The first year will be about gaining brand awareness and getting traction with investors.
  2. The second year will entail your startup swallowing local market share.
  3. The third year will be the big one – expansion into regional markets.

Janos also examined the unique opportunities present in Asia unlike in Europe; he offered Mobile Wallets as a differentiator between the two markets:

  • Europe has roughly equal market penetration of bank branches and mobile wallets.
  • Asia, meanwhile, has triple the amount of mobile wallet usage.

This means there is no need to build banks traditionally in Asia, as any startup can immediately seek to exploit the mobile banking space.

To conclude, the above insight illustrates the foundational strength of Fintech in Asia, and details why Fintech has major successes across the wider APAC. For a comprehensive look into exactly why this is the case, and to hear Janos’ responses from viewers, including whether “European fintech will ever be stop Asia’s dominance in the industry”, we highly encourage you to check out the entire webinar for FREE – here on demand.

As always, for the latest developments and events in Fintech, feel free to subscribe to our free newsletters below!

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