Tokyo Financial Award 2022 candidates revealed
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced the 2022 candidates for the Tokyo Financial Awards, held since 2019. The award recognizes financial businesses who are developing or providing innovative financial products/services that help address the needs of Tokyo residents and resolve issues faced by the TMG. Through the establishment and running of the Tokyo Financial Award, the TMG aims to both improve convenience for Tokyo residents and stimulate the financial industry, as well as enhance the presence of Tokyo as a global financial city. There is a second, ESG-focused category of awards that is not in scope of this article.
Prior winners of the financial innovation award are:
As before, the candidates are both domestic and international companies. The selection of the former represents an eclectic mix this year: from a subsidiary of one of Japan’s USD 1bn+ market cap FinTech companies, to an entity actually incorporated in Malaysia by a Japanese national, to Japan’s leading eKYC provider that has raked in FinTech awards over the years.
2022 Domestic Candidates
Bee Informatica provides a digital lending platform enabling rapid money lending through psychometric tests for micro-businesses which have difficulty receiving corporate loans, especially focused on women entrepreneurs. Bee Informatica is incorporated in Malaysia, co-founded by CEO Fumiko Inada. Bee Informatica’s platform “Entrebition” uses machine learning to create alternative credit scoring (ACS) from peer-to-peer activity and alternative data source.
free finance lab
free finance lab is a subsidiary of publicly listed freee (TK4478 with a JPY 180bn market cap at the time of writing), providing a corporate credit card service with a usage limit of up to JPY 50m without the guarantee of a representative. This card is based on the original credit model utilizing big data from cloud accounting software provided for businesses.
KAERU operates as a mobile app shopping assistant mobile providing features including reminding the user to buy things when they are at the store, taking pictures of things that the user bought, and more. It also provides kaeru card which is a prepaid card that can be used for payment at various stores such as convenience stores and supermarkets, just like a credit card. The card provides features to set the amount of money the user can use each day, this helps to prevent unnecessary spending. In March 2022, KAERU raised JPY 140m from FINOLAB, G-STARTUP, Nanto Capital Partners, Sony Ventures, Venture Labo Investment, and W ventures
LIFESION provides a new option to sell-off life insurance instead of surrendering the policy, through the development of a secondary market for life insurance, utilizing medical big data such as cancer statistics information. LIFESION was founded by former bureaucrat Keisuke Agatsuma, who was in charge of insurance administration at the Financial Services Agency. After retiring from the FSA in 2019, he established Lifesion and started the buying business in April 2022.
MONO Investment runs a B2B business that provides a CRM solution to financial advisors that specializes in asset management consultation. On the B2C side of the business, they provide an account aggregation tool, “Investment Concierge”, for individual investors, as well as possible introduction to advisor services for those who request it.
STANDAGE provides a digital trade platform utilizing AI/Blockchain technologies to address issues in international trade, such as the negotiation of trade terms, payment terms, etc. to enable effective, safe, and inexpensive business trading for all firms. STANDAGE had already been selected for the “XHUB Tokyo Outbound Program”, New York edition, supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The company also recently won a contract from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for digitizing agricultural machinery management in Egypt.
TRUSTDOCK provides an online identification eKYC API service, as the only KYC specialized company in Japan, for a variety of businesses as well as both public/private use digital ID application which supports the “My Number Card” (individual number card). Among others, the company won the Mizuho Innovation Award in 2021, and the EY Innovation Startup Award in 2022. The company has already established international offices in Singapore and Thailand. Their CEO draws amazing manga.
2022 International Candidates
Alpha Millennia Technology
Alpha Millenia, incorporated in Singapore, provides a customizable and user-centric full stack digital insurance system using the latest microservices technology. The company shows a mere five employees on LinkedIn. Raymond Cheung, the Founder & CEO, was previously Grab’s regional Head of Insurance. His profile also shows that he has taken on a position managing multistrategy and supply chain financing VCC funds for Asia markets at Lucerne Asset Management in June 2022. At the time of this writing, Alpha Milennia’s company website was not accessible.
BetterData, incorporated in Singapore, provides an AI platform that anonymizes, synthesizes, and analyzes data for regulated industries such as Finance, Insurance and Healthcare. Their technology makes data sharing instant and secure by converting limited real data into limitless synthetic data that looks, feels and behaves just like real data. As synthetic data belongs to no real individual, it can be shared globally with 100% compliance all the while appreciating user privacy.
HollyWally, incorporated in Singapore, provides a B2B2C white label platform for building personal and corporate digital wallets quickly and inexpensively, integrating many financial services such as payments, crypto assets, investments, and loyalty into a single wallet. HollyWally has raised a USD 1.4m seed round in February 2022.
Knabble, founded in New York, operates “Toggle”, an AI investment co-pilot. The fully autonomous global market analytics and portfolio monitoring service is available via web, mobile and API service for retail and institutional clients. The company has already opened an office in Tokyo, and has raised USD 12.8m through Series A, which also included MUFG Innovation Partners.
Slash Fintech provides solutions that enable payment with crypto assets on e-commerce and online sites. The press release lists the company as incorporated in the UK, however, their LinkedIn points to Singapore. This is another case of a Japanese-founded company established abroad, however, contrary to Bee Informatica, Slash is listed as “international” candidate.
Slash is a decentralised payment protocol, the full name of which is Slash Web3 Payment, capable of connecting to third party decentralised financial DApps via smart contracts and automating the token conversion process via smart contracts. By deploying this Web3 payment solution on e-commerce and online shopping sites, merchants can accept cryptocurrency payments directly.
swIDch is an information technology company that offers secure authentication through dynamic codes. Through their patented algorithm, swIDch enable the generation of dynamic authentication codes in a network-less environment, that can alone be used to authenticate users. The company was founded in 2015 and headquartered in London, England, and has raised USD 3.5m to date.
Tribe Digital Ventures
Tribe Digital Ventures, incorporated in Australia, provides an end-to-end security token solution for investors, issuers and brokers — offering development, technology, marketing, etc.
UNCLE2 FINTECH, incorporated in Hong Kong, provides a cloud-based pawn & auction marketplace for luxury asset owners and pawnshops with their proprietary AI Pawn Estimator; this provides the latest price comparison, future price projection, loan-to-value (LTV) & appraisal results simply by uploading photos. The company recently won “Best Retail Innovation 2022” for startups at the Hong Kong Retail Innovation Awards 2022.
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