The halls of the Singapore Expo were filled with investment enthusiasm last week during the three-day Singapore Fintech Festival. Investors were almost desperately looking for a match, as opportunities seem to be served on a silver platter.
The excitement can be traced back to a couple of reasons:
Firstly, the fintech week is a truly prestige event, with more than 250 speakers including Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education of Singapore and Board Member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Secondly, the Singapore Fintech Festival is the largest fintech event in the world, with 45,000 participants from 130 countries and 500 exhibitors.
Lastly, the deal-making platform MATCH (Meet ASEAN’s Talents and Champions) received great attention as the 380 participating global private equity and venture capital firms were on the hunt for their right match with next-generation ASEAN enterprises.
Who is the first to catch a baby unicorn?
The chase of finding the next unicorn exhilarated in the AMTD Conference hall, as Bain & Company presented that Southeast Asia will produce 10 more unicorns by 2024.
While it is certainly difficult to foresee how many more unicorns will be born in SEA within the next five years, it will be similarly demanding to uncover the next start-up to receive a US$ 1 billion dollar market valuation. Undoubtful, the 500 exhibitors at the Fintech week in Singapore are high potentials and investors want to leverage on it.
Yet, when walking around the exhibition and talking to entrepreneurs, a clear message was formulated: as long as start-ups do not manage to differentiate themselves from the existing regional stars as Lazada, Indonesian virtual credit provider Akulaku, Go-Jek and Co, it will be maintained to be difficult to generate a match with investors.
Upward momentum for supply and demand of venture capital
Besides matching challenges, investors have been actively sourcing to uncover potential start-ups to invest in, resulting in intentions to invest up to a total of $6.2 billion in ASEAN enterprises next year. This is followed by an communicated value of an additional $6 billion over the next two years.
As long as global financial markets do not change the game, bright times seem to follow this year’s Singapore Fintech Festival for the private equity and venture capital landscape, as the matchmaking continuous.