New fintech innovation hub to take shape in Singapore's Central Business District

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - This comes as a move to inspire more experimentation and collaboration in the local fintech 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, an office building owned by Hong Leong Group, said Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon.

Speaking on Tuesday (Nov 14) at the Fintech Conference, part of the week-long Singapore Fintech Festival at the Singapore Expo, Mr Menon noted that in the last few years, global multinationals have set up more than 30 fintech innovation labs or research centres here.

The fintech start-up space has become a lot more vibrant too, with over 400 such companies setting up a base here. "We have start-ups experimenting with new ways to pay, save, invest, buy insurance, and plan for retirement," he said. However, he added: "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 the MAS and the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), 80 RR said in a statement on Tuesday.

In conjunction with the Fintech Festival, it has prepared show suites at the building, and the SFA will lead 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. The expanded space will take up another few levels of the 28-storey office building.

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

Levels 8 and 9 in the building, 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 start-ups and other fintech companies," 80RR said.

Mr Zac Cheah, the chief executive of Pundi X, a Jakarta-based blockchain start-up, said a hub such as 80RR could be a possible location for his company's Singapore base. Pundi X does not now have an office in Singapore, but is planning on one. "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."

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

She said that although the hub was not something her company would be a member of, it does provide free use of its market data APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)to members of such hubs. "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."

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