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NIA Accelerates Thai FoodTech Startups to Steer Bangkok Towards Becoming FoodTech Silicon Valley Through SPACE-F Project

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The National Innovation Agency (Public Organization), Thailand or NIA continues its support in scaling up the FoodTech startups through the 2022 edition of the “SPACE-F” project. With aims to encourage investment opportunities for the Thai food sector and encounter global food security crisis, the agency targets to stimulate the use of deep tech as the main engine to drive Bangkok towards becoming the FoodTech Silicon Valley – an innovative food hub of Southeast Asia and the world.

Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, Executive Director of NIA said, “According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 report by the UN, more than 800 million of the world population, or around 10 percent, are now suffering from hunger in the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, shortage of raw material, and the decline of food safety. If we focus on food security in Thailand and around the world during the COVID-19 outbreak, all countries are fronting the same distressing situations where travel restrictions have caused a shortage of food supply. And as the world’s population is increasing rapidly, coupled with climate change, the decline of agricultural labor, and food waste resulting from mass consumption; global food security is now a serious issue that needs to be solved.”

“Not only that Thailand has sufficient raw material to serve growing demands, the country also has a top-notch logistics service. These attributes make the Thai food industry exceptional and position Thailand as the kitchen of the world. Nonetheless, the utilization of innovation and technology in the food industry is not diverse and still lack of research and development. Most of the players in the sector are stuck at the SMEs level where their focuses are mainly on domestic consumption. The NIA, therefore, stepped in to encourage the use of innovation in this particular industry. Intending to feed the world through innovation, the ‘SPACE-F’ project has initiated in 2019 to incubate and accelerate the growth of FoodTech startups in Thailand. The project brings together FoodTech startups and corporates through innovative mentorship, business connections, and a co-working program. SPACE-F provides a prominent platform to encourage entrepreneurial startups to embrace deep tech and innovation to bring advancement to their business and the food industry. Selected startups then will be mentored to take on Southeast Asian and global markets,” Executive Director of the NIA explained.

He added that the deep-tech business in food and agriculture continues to enjoy its equal growth as the e-commerce and fintech worldwide, the food companies in Thailand also relish robust supply chains. Consequently, FoodTech startup incubation and acceleration is the key to secure global food security goals, as well as help drive Bangkok to become “FoodTech Silicon Valley” or “Food Innovation Hub of Southeast Asia and the World”. Dr. Pun-Arj is confident that Thailand’s capital will contribute as an important meeting ground for startups and investors in advanced food technology from around the world. Bangkok will also serve significantly as a locally-sourced raw material development center.

Over the first and second years of the project, NIA has facilitated a suitable and conducive ecosystem for the development of deep tech for the food industry. NIA contributes to supporting emerging innovation models from a group of startups with impressive solutions through key guidelines as follows:

  1. Encourage the creation of innovative products or services to support the demand of consumers and large cooperates. Innovative service helps attract joint venture investment, and enhance competitiveness as most competitors are often focused solely on innovative manufacturing. It is also an important guideline to help manage the restaurant and manufacturing to steer in the right direction.
  2. Provide mentorship for startups through various programs ranging from the Incubator mentorship where new face startups participating in the program will be advised on how to create an effective business model from start, the Accelerator mentorship sets to speed up the growth of startups by adding value to the existing business. Both of these approaches will allow Thai startups to obtain swift growth in the food sector.
  3. Attract foreign FoodTech startups to receive funding from Thai food companies, set up a company in Bangkok, and to further register as a Thai company. This will enable Thai entrepreneurs and startups to use more of deep-tech, learn international business models, and exchange innovative knowledge that is crucial for the sustainable growth of their food businesses.
  4. Cooperate with the private sector to drive Bangkok towards becoming “FoodTech Silicon Valley”, which is a way to create a brand image for Thai food innovations in addition to street food and attract long-term investment in terms of space utilization.

SPACE-F program supports innovative food businesses covering 9 key FoodTech trends, namely, Health & Wellness, Alternative Proteins, Smart Manufacturing, Packaging Solutions, Novel Food & Ingredients, Biomaterials & Chemicals, Restaurant Tech, Food Safety & Quality, and Smart Food Services.

“By the end of 2025, the FoodTech industry is expected to be worth 7.76 trillion baht. And with our vision and commitment to supporting the startup ecosystem, NIA will continue to drive Bangkok towards becoming the Food Silicon Valley using SPACE-F as the main mechanism. SPACE-F, initiated 3 years ago, has mentored more than 50 FoodTech startups to embrace innovation and technology for their growth. Graduates from the project are now blossoming and have received continued investment from the private sector, especially the Alternative Proteins. These new economic warriors will play pivotal roles in shaping the sustainable future of global food security,” Dr. Pun-Arj concluded.

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Revolut introduces robo-advisor service in the Republic of Ireland

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Revolut, the global financial super-app with a customer base exceeding 35 million worldwide, has recently unveiled its Robo-Advisor service in Ireland.

The company, known for its innovative approach to banking and financial services, aims to simplify the investment process for its users.

The introduction of the Robo-Advisor is a response to the growing demand for accessible investment options. Many potential investors find the research and management of investments time-consuming and complex, especially those with limited trading experience or those who cannot dedicate time to actively manage their portfolios.

Revolut operates as a financial super-app, offering a wide range of services from traditional banking to cryptocurrency trading. The app is designed to be a one-stop solution for users’ financial needs, making it easier to manage money in a fast-paced digital world.

The new Robo-Advisor service is designed to automate the investment process. By answering a series of questions, customers can have a fully diversified and customized portfolio created for them. This portfolio is then automatically managed, with investments made based on the customer’s risk tolerance and financial goals. The minimum investment to access the Robo-Advisor is EUR 100, with an annual management fee of 0.75% of the portfolio value.

Additional features of the Robo-Advisor include the ability for customers to set up recurring transfers from as little as EUR 10, allowing for regular portfolio growth and minimization of the impact of market volatility. The service also automatically rebalances portfolios and conducts periodic reviews to ensure alignment with the customer’s investment objectives.

Rolandas Juteika, Head of Wealth and Trading (EEA) said, “We are excited to add a Robo-Advisor to our suite of wealth and trading products. We know that many of our customers do not have the time to manage a portfolio or invest in individual securities. In fact, 53% of customers we surveyed last year said they simply don’t know where to start when it comes to investing. Built to make investing more accessible, we want to give our customers the ability to make their money work for them in what we believe will be a tailored and stress-free solution.”

Revolut’s recent expansion of its investment offerings across the EEA, including shares of European listed companies and the introduction of Trading Pro for advanced traders, highlights its commitment to providing comprehensive financial solutions. With over 2,200 US-listed securities, 220+ EU-listed securities, and 270 ETFs available through the app, Revolut continues to enhance its platform, making investing more accessible to a broader audience.

Investment services in the EEA are provided by Revolut Securities Europe UAB, which is regulated by the Bank of Lithuania. While Revolut aims to make investing straightforward and efficient, it’s important for customers to remember that investments carry risks, including the potential for loss and currency fluctuations.

Source: Fintech Global

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Hawk AI welcomes new general manager Robin Lee

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Hawk AI, a front-runner in AI-driven solutions for fraud and anti-money laundering (AML) surveillance, has recently announced the strategic appointment of Robin Lee as General Manager for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Tobias Schweiger, CEO of Hawk AI, expressed his enthusiasm about the new addition to their team. “I’m very pleased to welcome Robin Lee to Hawk AI. He brings deep expertise in regulatory compliance and outstanding knowledge of the anti-financial crime sector. He’s also an exceptional leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and infectious energy. We’re excited to have someone of his caliber onboard.”

Lee is also highly engaged in global financial crime fighting initiatives, currently serving as Vice-Chair for the APAC Chapter of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime and as the Global FinTech Liaison for the US Department of Justice’s FinTech Sector Public Dialogue (FSPD), its public-private partnership focusing on FinTechs.

On joining Hawk AI, Lee shared his excitement, “I’m delighted to be joining Hawk AI. The Hawk AI platform is streets ahead of other vendors in the sector, with explainable AI that has been built-in from the ground up and an integrated approach to tackling financial crime that delivers truly extraordinary results for customers.

“I’ve also been deeply impressed by the Hawk AI team. They’re an exceptional group of people, combining world-class technologists and seasoned financial crime-fighters. I’m very proud to be part of their continued growth.”

Since its inception in 2018 by finance industry veterans, Hawk AI has shown remarkable growth. The company now plays a pivotal role in monitoring or screening billions of transactions worldwide. Its unique approach, leveraging explainable AI, has set new industry standards by significantly reducing false positives compared to traditional AML/Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) solutions.

Hawk AI’s modular solution offers financial institutions a powerful tool to either enhance or replace legacy systems with AI-powered transaction monitoring, payment screening, pKYC, and fraud prevention capabilities, ensuring greater accuracy and efficiency in real-time.

Source: Fintech Global

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Velexa launches new Fractional Bonds feature: Making elite investments accessible to all

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Velexa, recognised as a top WealthTech100 company, has recently unveiled its latest innovation: fractional bonds. This new feature is a significant addition to their comprehensive suite of investment tools, designed for both embedded and standalone applications.

Following the successful implementation of fractional shares, Velexa’s move to introduce fractional bonds marks a strategic step towards making high-quality bond investments accessible to the mass retail market.

The introduction of fractional bonds by Velexa is set to revolutionize the investment landscape. This feature enables institutions to offer retail investors the chance to explore a diverse portfolio of over 300 high-quality corporate and government bonds. These bonds span major markets, including the US and the EU, and are available for investment with minimal initial sums.

This approach to asset fractionalisation—splitting a high-value asset into smaller, tradable units—is gaining momentum among capital market players. Despite the popularity of fractional shares, the bond market has remained relatively untapped, mainly due to its complexity and the high entry barriers for retail investors.

Historically, the bond market has been the playground of institutional investors, largely due to the high entry costs and the intricate trading mechanisms involved. Many bonds come with minimum investment requirements set by the issuers or dealers, typically in increments of $10,000, and often trade in lot sizes exceeding $100,000.

This structure has effectively sidelined retail investors, making it difficult for them to access bond investments. Velexa’s fractional bonds initiative aims to dismantle these barriers, opening up the bond market to a broader audience and democratizing access to what has traditionally been an elite investment domain.

Tamara Kostova, CEO of Velexa, emphasized the transformative potential of fractional bonds, stating, “With the roll-out of fractional bonds functionality, Velexa is taking a significant step to make the bond market more accessible, offering a lower-cost entry point into this vast market.

“More investors will be able to diversify their portfolios, potentially reducing risk and enhancing possible returns. As a company on a mission to democratise wealth generation through investing, building the right tools to empower retail investors to achieve their financial goals is a focal point in the way we design our technology.”

Velexa’s commitment to enhancing the personal investing experience extends beyond the launch of fractional bonds. The company’s API-based platform and solutions are designed to enable customers to offer a personalized and robust investment experience to their end-users. The modular technology allows for easy integration of new functionalities into existing channels and apps through Velexa’s Investing API solution.

The debut of fractional bonds is more than just an expansion of Velexa’s investing toolkit; it represents a crucial shift in the personal investing landscape. By bridging the divide between large-cap investments and the individual investor, Velexa is setting the stage for retail-focused institutions such as banks, neobanks, brokers, and exchanges to expand their customer base and cater to the diverse needs of the next generation of investors.

Velexa is a pioneering WealthTech company dedicated to democratizing the wealth management industry. Its B2B2X investing technology platform enables client institutions to tap into the growing demand for modern and ubiquitous investing solutions among new generation investors.

Source: Fintech Global

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