APIX (API Exchange) is the world’s first cross-border, open-architecture platform to catalyze digital innovation and drive financial inclusion. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) provided a live demonstration of the platform during a private session at last week’s FINSUM conference in Tokyo. Tokyo FinTech will host a discussion with FinTech pioneer Pieter Franken, representing the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in this effort, on Friday, September 20. Please register here.
The ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) has been setup with the mission to facilitate innovation and cooperation between financial institutions and FinTechs, in an effort to digitally transform the banking and financial sectors across the ASEAN region and to ultimately drive financial inclusion. AFIN is a collaboration between the MAS, the IFC (World Bank Group) and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA).
AFIN brings together financial industry participants to Discover, Design and Deploy innovative digital solutions within a collaborative ecosystem. The APIX platform comprises a globally curated marketplace and sandbox. The marketplace expedites discovery and collaborative undertakings between fintechs and FIs. The sandbox enables safe testing and experimentation with FinTech applications via a cloud-based architecture.
For FinTech startups, the requirements for participation are very simple: the architecture of their applications must allow for API access, and the APIs must run 24x7 to enable uninterrupted experimentation. API performance is being measured by APIX. Given that physical presence in the region is not required, any global startup can apply to be part of the platform. Early adopters on the platform receive a significant discount prior to the Singapore FinTech Festival, as well as substantial cloud service provider credits that mitigate the residual cost. The annual cost is less than a single trip to the region.
On the financial institutions side, APIX targets primarily smaller and mid-sized ASEAN banks without their own innovation teams, which have a hard time surveying the FinTech marketplace and find startup partners that can meet their needs. These banks can also publish their problem statements on the platform. APIX allows for immediate, un-intermediated experimentation on the platform, eliminating the customary lead time for engagement through procurement departments. Initial experiments across various different FinTech offerings can be conducted in days, if not hours, and once suitability is confirmed, direct discussions can be initiated between the parties and taken outside the sandbox environment to evolve into a true Proof-of-Concept (PoC) arrangement.
APIX allows for the protection of competitive information in that information published can be classified as “FI only” or “FinTech only”, so that neither the problem statements by the banks or the functionality of FinTechs gets disclosed to their respective competitors. In a future release, the platform will also include a social networking component in the form of discussion forums so that best practices can be exchanged between participants.