The government of Singapore and regulators are actively involved in promoting a culture of fintechs and neobanks in recent years. In line with that, a Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study shows that nearly 65 percent of Singapore residents would consider working with a neobank. The study showed that 84 percent of respondents are willing to adopt neobanking services offered by existing financial institutions. This points to the fact that neobanking in Singapore is set for unprecedented growth, especially with a notable trend observed in the digital-led demographic.
In essence, Singapore’s business environment is conducive for companies seeking market expansion. MatchMove’s readiness and openness to capitalise on this opportunity has encouraged it to step up efforts to join the city-state’s neobanking race. In fact, the company has already submitted an application for a digital full bank licence to the Monetary Authority of Singapore. In many ways, it already functions like a digital bank. Its Wallet-as-a-Service platform and the full Spend.Send.Lend™ suite enables the company to operate like a neobank managing end to end processes for millions of customer transactions.
In an exclusive interview with International Finance, the founder and CEO of MatchMove Shailesh Naik speaks about the company’s growth trajectory and its readiness and openness to establish itself as a neobank in Singapore. Shailesh has a successful track record in high-tech and new media sectors across China, India, Korea and Southeast Asia—and has made several successful investments in both online entertainment and ecommerce companies in Asia and the US. He has served as part of the iN2015 committees to develop Singapore’s new national IT master plan and is also a founding investor in Singapore-based social venture fund Aavishkaar.
IF: MatchMove has emerged from an entertainment business to a sophisticated payment platform. What was the driving force behind this transition?
Shailesh Naik: During our entertainment and games days, we encountered a fundamental pain point when making in-app/ in-game purchases, which caused user friction and users discontinued. This pain point transcended across industries. We realised that consumers across Asia were unable to make payments digitally. We saw this as a fundamental gap in the market and the opportunity for us to improve the quality of people’s digital lives by providing them with access to essential banking services. Hence, we pivoted into payments and developed a B2B ‘Banking-as-a-Service’ platform to enable essential banking services Spend.Send.Lend™ for any business that is looking to digitise.
MatchMove is the latest fintech company to apply for a digital banking licence with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. How does it plan to serve underbanked segments like SMEs and gig economy workers?
At its core, MatchMove aims to improve the quality of peoples’ digital life by extending essential and safe banking services to them anytime, anywhere. Our proposed digital Banking-as-a-Service will accelerate this objective by leveraging our existing and already available capabilities to address current pent up demand and reach digitally underserved segments like SMEs and gig workers among others, through platforms that they trust and are familiar with. As a pure-play fintech, we believe we are well positioned to graduate to become the digital bank of choice for enterprises, employees and consumers of the future, in Singapore and in the region. we are already acting a lot like a bank
The company has formed a consortium with Singapura Finance, Lightnet and OpenPayd for a digital banking licence. What is the consortium’s value proposition that distinguishes it from majors like Sea?
Our carefully curated consortium brings together world class financial institutions, each regulated in their respective jurisdictions with deep capabilities and experience across the spectrum of digital financial services. These partners bring along regional and global connectivity, as well as experience across the spectrum of digital financial services to enhance the proposed digital bank’s value proposition.
What will be the role played by consortium partners Lightnet and OpenPay in building MatchMove’s digital banking capabilities?
Our banking aspirations are aligned and there are many synergies with both organisations that we can explore. The proposed digital bank can leverage Lightnet’s blockchain-based clearing and settlement network in the region while OpenPayd brings proven capability and best practices which we can leverage on.
How is MatchMove democratising financial services using advanced cloud and mobile technologies? Give an example.
Leveraging cloud and mobile tech, MatchMove is enabling anyone to Spend.Send.Lend™ anytime, anywhere. Our platform drives financial inclusion by giving the digitally unbanked or underserved their first user account to store money digitally as well as an open loop prepaid card to pay for goods and services. We are also solving pain points for underserved SMEs by extending essential banking services to them and providing access to financing. For example, our recent collaboration with Shopmatic will provide aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs with integrated payment and financial solutions. It will also enable users across Asia transact digitally to buy goods and services.
The company has already built bank-like capabilities for various industries including shipping. How is it enabling seamless payment services for Singapore’s shipping company Marine Innovation?
Mature industries today are still reliant on traditional and cash payments methods. Like in shipping, we discovered that a large proportion of sailors still get paid in cash. One of our clients, Singapore-based Marine Innovation is using MatchMove’s platform to digitise payroll and provide essential banking services to those sailors . Upon receiving their payroll digitally through the Marine Innovation branded ewallet, they can make purchases online and offline using a prepaid card as well as remit money to their family directly from the app. For Marine Innovation, this solution reduces costs of transactions as well inefficiencies from the manual process.
It is reported that MatchMove seeks to raise $150 million for new market expansion. What are the key markets the company is targeting and why?
We are looking to raise $150 million in the ongoing series C funding round by October 2020. The series C funding is looking to raise $150 million for new market expansion, platform and product development as well as procuring relevant licences to support business growth. Aside from strengthening our presence across Asia, other key markets we are targeting include Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. These markets have a similar market profile to Asia with a large unbanked population and high mobile phone penetration and ecommerce adoption. In addition, we are also planning to enter the European market as there is demand from businesses looking to digitise and build their own payment ecosystems.