As we kick off our 2017 Singapore program, we welcome 11 teams that will revolutionise the world of finance. Fintech startups continue to bring about innovative solutions to complex problems in both the Finance and Insurance Industries. One of the key areas we’ve seen rapid change over in is the Wealth Managment Industry. Singapore has long been on the cusp of a wealth management breakthrough however faulted due to lack of ecosystem support. Leading to, a halt in technology development and reliance on archaic wealth management systems. Hence The Startup of the week for Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore is Smartfolios.
Smartfolios is an online advisory and investment platform empowering investors to meet their investment goals. Based out of Singapore, Smartfolios aims to empower financial institutions to turn disruption into avenues of opportunity, stay ahead of the digital curve and thereby accelerating their growth.
Your team combines over 40 years of market and experience, how did your team meet? Where did the concept for Smartfolios come about?
Our team is a combination of over 40 years of experience across Financial Institutions and global exchanges. Building off several years of friendship we often discussed our frustrations with the current investment market. We knew that with our experience we could have a real impact on bringing forth a new solution to previously complex investing platforms. Together, we created Smartfolios, a B2B online advisory and investment platform empowering investors to meet their investment goals.
Smartfolios is a solution to a range of customer pain points. Incumbents lack a simple, affordable and transparent digital wealth management solution to meet the needs of a new generation of investors. On that, superior investment solutions are well out of reach for private investor tending to only be accessible to institutional and professional investors.
With the technology today this should not be the case. After consulting with several financial institutions we realized they needed to engage clients digitally and offer them a meaningful and personalized investment experience. With that validation, we decided to embark on a mission to enable financial institutions to empower their clients. So we developed Smartfolios, as a solution that combines the best of passive and active investing.
What advantage do you have over possible competitors?
We sell primarily to financial institutions such as banks (retail and mass affluent), wealth managers and private banks, online brokers, and independent financial advisors. They are our partners and clients. These firms face such digital access, variety and diversity of products, or better risk-return profiles expected by their clients. They now have Smartfolios.
So competition doesn’t come from the incumbents but rather from other start-ups developing other B2B models in the broader robo-advisor space. That said, what clearly sets us apart is two fold:
First, end-user can invest in a way that reflects who they are. Portfolios of investments are pre-built to align with their interests and objectives. They can select from a broad range of choices that are descriptive and adapted to their needs and goals. For example, a user can select portfolios such as:
- “Oil and Gas Giants” (with companies in the petroleum industry from upstream exploration, development and production of crude oil or natural gas to downstream tankers, refiners and retailers).
- “Globe Trotters” (companies that benefit from the frequent travellers spending habits such as airlines, hotel chains, booking portals, car rentals).
- “Low Volatility” strategies.
- “High Dividend Yield” strategies.
- And many more!
Secondly, we developed an engine and complex databases to host and manage the entire universe of our customisable portfolios. We follow rigorous, systematic and transparent approach to building and maintaining our portfolios. Using proprietary algorithms and our in-house financial expertise we build the most advanced customisable portfolios. The aim ultimately is to deliver an enhanced risk-return.
What are the upcoming plans for Smartfolios?
The key objectives for the coming months are clearly laid out: deliver our Beta version in Q2 and go-live in Q3 with our first partner (Marvelstone Capital). In addition, raise our seed round by the summer and prepare for our Series A. Finally, turn the Startupbootcamp program into a resounding success for our team, our business partners and our investors.
Ultimately, we aim to become a global FinTech company operating at the nexus of financial and technological innovations. Indeed we plan to cover brand new domain such as incorporating AI in portfolio construction, Natural Language Processing in advisory as well as advanced RegTech in the onboarding process.
Today we’ve got a number of very promising partnerships in the works, a growing pipeline of customers we’re working on. Alongside our ambitious roadmap of new solutions that we’re excited about. All these will keep us busy for the foreseeable future.
Tell us about your team?
The founding team is cross disciplinary with deep industry knowledge and strong experience in innovation. Our experience in emerging technologies, regulatory matters or financial innovations, we are always ahead of the game. Our strong team helps to build a strong team culture which fosters growth from within. But most of all we have fun working together and that matters a lot too.
Why did you join SBC Fintech program?
We joined the Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore program because we saw an opportunity to truly accelerate our go to market and direct sales strategy. Access to domain experts, access to a broad and deep network in the financial industry, support throughout the 3 months of the program will certainly be invaluable given our goals to sign initial customers at the current stage of development of our start-up.
We believe that Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore will be very additive to our efforts in finding and signing customers. It will also be an enriching experience interacting with a thriving cohort of startups and working with a team of great professionals at Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore.