New hub in CBD for fintech innovation to spur startup scene


IN A move to spur more experimentation and collaboration in the local fintech scene, a new fintech innovation hub is being set up in the heart of the Central Business District.

This will be a 100,000 sq ft space at 80 Robinson Road, a building owned by Hong Leong Group, said Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon.

Speaking at the Fintech Conference yesterday, part of the week-long Singapore Fintech Festival, Mr Menon noted that in the last few years, global multinationals have set up more than 30 fintech innovationlabs or research centres here.

The fintech startup space has become a lot more vibrant too, with more than 400 such companies setting up a base here.

"We have startups experimenting with new ways to pay, save, invest, buy insurance, and plan for retirement," he said.

However, "no innovation ecosystem is complete without physical spaces to facilitate experimentation and collaboration".

Hence the introduction of 80RR Fintech Hub SG, as the innovation hub at 80 Robinson Road will be known.

The idea for the space came after talks with MAS and the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), said a statement from 80 RR yesterday.

In conjunction with the Fintech Festival, it has prepared show suites, and the SFA will be leading tours for visitors and the local fintech community to view them.

It added that levels 8 and 9 in the building already offer three categories of rental space - hot-desking, designated desks and designated offices.

"This prime venue will proffer additional space specifically catered for the fast-growing fintech community of varying sizes and growth stages, be it startup companies, those with plans to extend their current lease or those who wish to expand to larger areas on the higher floors," it said.

The two levels, which take up about 30,000 sq ft in all, used to be occupied by Lattice 80, a fintech "innovation village", which has since moved out and will take up new space at another location within the CBD.

"We are very excited to support and facilitate the rapidly evolving fintech landscape by offering innovative spaces at competitive market rates to startups and other fintech companies," 80RR said.

Zac Cheah, chief executive of Pundi X, a Jakarta-based blockchain startup, said a hub such as 80RR could be a possible location for his company's Singapore base.

"Pundi X does not currently have an office in Singapore, but is planning on one in the near future. Our headquarters in Jakarta is housed in a private innovation hub, which we believe brings a lot to the team, from the services offered by the hub to the network generated by startups with similar goals under the same roof," he said.

"Our first consideration when building a team in a new market will be to hit the ground running, and a hub such as the one just announced by Mr Menon this morning can help save time."

Kerry Langstaff, chief marketing officer of Silicon Valley-based startup Xignite, said such a hub would be a welcome development for her company too. It works with startups that require financial data to build their products and services.

"The hub is not something we would be a member of, but we provide free use of our market data APIs to members of such hubs," she said.

"So while the companies are at the hub, they can use our data for free to build their applications and software, so they can do demos and get funding and then hopefully become our clients."