Unicorns are mystical animals, but they exist in the startup scene to describe privately held companies with a valuation of more than US$1bil.
In the past, many unicorns were platform providers such as Alibaba and ride-sharing services Uber and Grab, as well as Airbnb. But now, these companies are pivoting into fintech, providing digital payment services as payments and money transactions are increasingly going digital.
Grab, for instance, started as a ride-hailing service. The company is now providing digital payment services through GrabPay. It has been said that South-East Asia’s most valuable startup is now exploring a move into online-only banks in Singapore.
At present, Grab’s financial products are mainly geared towards small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs in South-East Asia, which in the past struggled to get loans and payment services from banks and financial institutions.
This is mainly because of their nature of business, which is normally classified as high-risk to get financing from traditional banks and low margins for payment solutions.
But the South-East Asian region has more than 600 million people and with unbanked adults making up about 73% of the demographic, South-East Asia is ripe for the growth of fintech.
Globally, 2018 was a phenomenal year with more than US$31.8bil deals being made. In terms of market dominance, payment companies are taking the lion’s share of funding followed by personal finance.
Interestingly, the South-East Asian region has become one of the emerging markets in the world leading the tech startup wave. According to Deloitte, there was more than US$5.7bil in deals in the region’s fintech space last year.
Fintech is piping hot!Next week, Bank Negara is organising Malaysia’s first flagship fintech event, MyFintech Week 2019 (MyFW2019), that will take place from June 17 to 21, 2019 in Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur.
The event is held in conjunction with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp’s Malaysia Tech Week 2019.Themed “Shifting Tides: Future of Finance”, MyFW2019 will focus on five key areas, ie, Financial Inclusion (FI), Digital Economy, Insurtech, Islamic Finance and Cybersecurity.
MyFW2019 will bring together more than 100 visionary and leading voices in the world of fintech. The event will also see more than 40 exhibitors from the industry and around the region showcasing their fintech products and services.