Singapore – home to some 400 fintech startups and 100+ financial institutions–is more ambitious than ever to take the global fintech hub crown. The government-led, corporation sponsored Fintech Festival is into its second year, this time bigger and better than last.
Totalling five days from Nov. 13-17, the festival event welcomes attendees with its warm tropical weather on the small island state. I was lucky enough to be invited as a media member to witness the biggest get-together of every player in the fintech ecosystem: startups, investors, financial institutions, corporations and government agencies.
Covering everything trending and topical in fintech from distributed ledger technology to regulatory risk, we are seeing highly prestigious speakers and government officials making appearances at the event. While it would be impossible to report back every detail, I will try my best to highlight the noteworthy in this article.
The festival experience
The festival was an indoor event that took up three exposition halls at the Singapore Expo. Upon arrival, the event arena was already buzzing with delegates of all sorts of nationalities chattering in every accent imaginable. After registration, I was immediately greeted by huge showcase booths from festival sponsors: Deloitte, Prudential and KPMG among others.
Corporate sponsor booths like Deloitte’s take up the majority of exhibition real estate
Compared to other fintech events I’ve been to, the booths at this festival were way more creative and inviting with genuinely exciting new technologies on display. Deloitte, for example, showcased their voice and tone recognition technology for mitigating risk. PayNow-the biggest peer-to-peer payment network in Singapore–exhibited how money can be moved instantly with just the recipient’s phone number with an experiential showcase.
There is definitely no lack of happenings for the week celebration. The festival breaks down into three main types of events and many smaller segments running concurrently. There was so much going on every minute at every corner of the venue that one can easily be held back by FOMO. Just as I headed towards an intriguing conference talk about the open ledger, at the same time there is another exciting, inclusive fintech talk happening on a different stage.
While the crowded floors are a little challenging to navigate and too many events happening concurrently, with the help of the official event app I was able to plan and bookmark events that interest me beforehand. Even conference talks I attended were a full house–people were standing around for these hour-long talks. The crowd enthusiasm was amazing…