Singapore’s central bank has backed its first fintech startup

By  for TechInAsia

Singaporean fintech startup SoCash is the first fintech startup to receive backing from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, it announced today.

The grant is part of the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation Scheme for proof of concepts, which MAS announced in June 2015. We have reached out to SoCash for more details on the grant.

MAS said at the time it would commit US$159 million over the next five years to create a “vibrant ecosystem for innovation.”

Funds committed under the scheme are aimed at convincing financial institutions to open innovation centers in Singapore. The scheme is also meant to support the creation of “industry-wide technology infrastructure” for new products and services, a category that includes fintech startups.

ATM anywhere

SoCash turns any business into an ATM, allowing users to withdraw cash from a merchant’s till just like they would from their banks’ automated tellers – kind of like getting cash back at the supermarket. The startup uses your bank’s mobile app to let you transfer an amount to the merchant’s bank account. Then you can pick up the amount in cash at that outlet.

The scheme is meant to support the creation of new fintech products and services.

The company wants to launch its service in Singapore by the end of the year and aims to have 5,000 cash points in the city-state by December 2017. It previously raised a seed round worth US$297,000 from angel investors in July 2016.

“As a fintech startup, we see great value in a scheme like this by MAS,” says SoCash CEO Hari Sivan in a statement.

MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty says, “We are confident that startups and financial institutions will benefit from the [FSTI] grant, and come up with innovative solutions that will benefit consumers and the industry. Recipients will also share their findings with the industry and help accelerate the development and dissemination of nascent innovative technologies.”

Converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.41

First appeared at TIA