Thank you extended team and partners for 2018 and looking forward to a transformative 2019!
We’ve had a busy 2018 with many milestones. I thought it would be a good time to reflect and celebrate some achievements, and look forward to you all joining the movement or continuing to work with SC Ventures to bring your ideas to reality.
“Rewiring the DNA in Banking” was chosen very intentionally. “Rewiring” recognizes a digital element, where we aim to better use data, technology and partnerships with Fintechs to accelerate our transformation. At the heart of our change aspirations however, is the “DNA”, our human focus on innovation.
With this as a guiding principle, we aim to:
- deliver a much better customer experience
- empower our colleagues to think creatively and deliver impactful change as part of their work life as ultimately, innovation is all about people
- change “banking” and make it truly relevant for future generations
So what did we do in 2018 to make this real?
1. ENABLING INNOVATION
a. Intrapreneur program
We launched SC Innovate globally as the platform for all to submit innovative ideas that could potentially go into production, obtain “crowd voting” to shortlist them and seed funding.
The response was almost overwhelming with over 15,000 signing-up within 6 months. A total of 1235 ideas were submitted across 8 challenges. After 49 initial pitch sessions, we ran 25 bootcamps to help Intrapreneurs prepare for final pitches. The community of Intrapreneurs can be very proud that their ideas are turning into reality, for example:
- Brunei’s “Smart Spend” is being embedded in our SC Mobile App
- Singapore’s “Credit Card Buddy” is starting a PoC in a large RB market,
b. Innovation across our footprint
We launched two new eXellerator labs:
- Q1 2018 – Hong Kong eXellerator lab to support PoCs, business partner and client engagement and tap into the China Fintech ecosystem
- Q4 2018 – London eXellerator lab with a main focus on CIB client engagement & co-creation as well as to tap into the UK & Europe Fintech ecosystems
We are now planning our next eXellerator lab in East Africa… stay tuned!
c. Fintech exploration, PoCs & implementation
2018 also saw a maturing of the Bank’s Fintech engagement with a lot more PoCs conducted within the businesses and functions. Of the 500+ startups reviewed in our “scouting” function, 52 PoCs were conducted and 21 are currently at various stages of implementation. Thanks to the launch of the PoC sandbox, Fintech PoCs with anonymized data can now get started within 2 weeks – probably an industry benchmark. Our “lab crawl” during the third SG Fintech festival registered a record of 1500 participants with 9 Fintech partners.
d. Client Engagement & Co-Creation
54 client engagements across 3 locations, 9 got into more detailed workshops, resulting in one business prototype and one new product.
2. INNOVATION INVESTMENT FUND
Our proposition to align incentives with Fintech partners by investing minority stakes was well received by both the Fintech and VC communities. By investing in Fintechs which we have done at least a PoC with, and have intentions to scale in production, we seek to demonstrate our commitment to help our partners scale and get to “industrial strength”.
Meanwhile we will soon announce a follow-on investment in one of our portfolio companies and are performing due diligence on 7 of the healthy pipeline of Fintechs with whom we have completed PoCs in 2017 & 2018. Valuations have been challenging in 2018 (we passed on a number of proposals), but the recent market adjustment may well provide new opportunities.
3. NEW VENTURES
Experimenting with new business models outside the Bank by building new entrepreneurial Ventures was always going to be a challenging yet potentially very powerful stream of activities.
Our digital bank in HK is the most public and most advanced of the Ventures – currently in the build phase with the application for a virtual banking license in process.
Two other ventures are at seed funding stage: one to build a platform for the provision of financial and other business services to SMEs, a segment often underserved by our industry yet critical to economic growth and progress in our markets; the other is to “plug” our bank into e-commerce platforms to provide financial services to their customers. Here again, stay tuned!
We have an increasing pipeline of potential new Ventures – 6 ideas currently incubated in partnership with business and functions and another few being evaluated.
NOW TO OUR FOCUS FOR 2019!
We have made lots of progress and have laid out the foundations. In the context of transformational impact in 2019, I would just highlight these non-negotiable priorities:
- delivering strategic options for the Bank by experimenting with new business models: we are working on the Ventures pipeline, are routinely engaging internal business partners to resource and co-sponsor incubation and are also focusing on a number of external partnerships. 2019 will see our first “launches” and iterations
- developing our Intrapreneurs and accelerating the prototyping process to address increasingly important problems. A new portal will go live shortly to support this growth, enabling better matching and collaboration between Fintech partners and Intrapreneurs
Congratulations and a big thank you to all involved in 2018. I have no doubt that 2019 will have its fair share of challenges but there is little a motivated group of individuals with a shared purpose cannot surmount. “Rewiring the DNA in banking” might sound daunting, but it is also a privilege to have a platform from which we may well have such an impact.