Startups get access to NIUM's tech infrastructure through developer lab BOLT

FINTECH startup NIUM has launched a programme to allow startups access to its tech infrastructure, as part of its efforts to hone in on the small and medium enterprise (SME) market.

Through the 26-week programme, called BOLT, startups can build their own fintech products based on NIUM’s existing technology platform. For instance, a startup could build its own consumer-facing payments business without needing to get their own licences or create a compliant network from scratch.

NIUM, formerly known as InstaReM, started out in 2014 as a consumer-focused remittance business based in Singapore. It has now set its sights on the lucrative SME market, which generates larger transaction volumes each year.

The company’s main business offerings are split into three categories: “send”, which includes cross-border payments and sending funds to Visa debit cards; “spend”, which includes business-to-business (B2B) payments and issuance of employee expense cards; and “receive”, which includes invoice collection and payment collection via virtual accounts and cards.

Access to all of NIUM’s systems will cost startups S$99 per month; the company then charges a fee for each time a service is used, chief executive Prajit Nanu told The Business Times.

Startups in the BOLT programme will be provided with help from NIUM’s developers as they build their products. They will also be offered training in UI/UX (user interface/user experience), as well as link-ups with venture capitalists.

NIUM, which processes billions of dollars a year for banks, payments institutions and retail users, is backed by Vertex Ventures, Fullerton Financial Holdings, Rocket Internet and MDI Ventures, among others.

The company has set aside 2,000 square feet of space at its headquarters in Hong Leong Building for startups to develop their products on-location. Each programme cohort will comprise five startups.

To be sure, NIUM already works with businesses to allow them access to its API (application programming interface) network to build their own fintech products. Mr Nanu told BT that BOLT is the company’s way of building a fintech hub; if successful, the plan is for the programme to become completely virtual, which would allow it to extend its reach.

“As an entrepreneur, I have journeyed through successes, failures and complexities of setting up a successful fintech company. InstaReM, the first product of NIUM, took five years to establish its network which now spans over 100 countries. With BOLT, entrepreneurs can now focus on their innovative products and solutions alone,” Mr Nanu said separately in a press statement.