At the heart of the Fintech ecosystem – reflections on FF18

Photo credit: Next Money Fintech Finals

By Gavin Lock, COO Senjō Group

Last week Senjō Group was at Next Money’s FinTech Finals (FF18) in Hong Kong, where we were proud to be sponsoring the event alongside Visa and Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK).

This is the second year that we’ve sponsored the Fintech Finals and this year was even better than before. The quality of 22 start-ups exhibiting and pitching was phenomenal and very well done to all that took part in the pitching on Day 1 and extra well done to those who won.

Checkbox (Australia) won Best in Show, Best Early Stage Start-up went to jumper.ai (Singapore) and Best Growth Stage Start-up was won by Moneytree (Japan). Blue Fire AI (Hong Kong) claimed the Best Mature Stage Start-up prize. Each and every one of the start-ups did a terrific job and if anything, FF18 provides a great platform for these firms to practice their pitch and meet investors.

We love events like FF18 as it brings together some of the leading and brightest components of the Fintech ecosystem from around the world to one place. It was great to be in Hong Kong, a leading FinTech hub globally, rubbing shoulders with investors, start-ups, consultants, banks and innovation centres. The energy is electric and the conversations are quality.

A highlight for me was to sit on a panel with Melissa Guzy, Founder of Arbor Ventures and Alokik Advani from Goldman Sachs talking about how start-ups can maximise impact when pitching to investors. We meet scores of FinTech firms and hear countless pitches and this session was about telling the audience about what we feel works and what doesn’t. In case you missed it, some of the takeaways were:

• Passion, clarity, originality – this is essential to grab the attention of your audience
• Understand the market – have a realistic position of where you are in the market, where the market is going and how you are going to stand out from the competition
• Business model – showing a true understanding of the economics of the industry and the business drivers is important. Doing something different is key but having a realistic plan underpinned by intelligence is just as, if not more, important.

If you missed the session and would like to know more, you can read more on our Pitching Tips for FinTech firms blog here.

The FinTech ecosystem is a very tightly knit group of different parties who at times seem slightly far apart geographically. FF18 and the semi-finals that ran before it are a fantastic way to bring all these different parties together. We were thrilled to be at the heart of this in Hong Kong and look forward to engaging with many of the people we met over the years to come.