DBS Bank ties up with GO-JEK prior to SG launch

DBS Bank and GO-JEK have entered into a regional partnership, ahead of GO-JEK's arrival in Singapore. The partnership will see the two companies work together on payment services and will soon extend to other countries in Southeast Asia. Planned to launch its ride-hailing app within the coming weeks in Singapore, its existing investors include Google, Temasek, Tencent and Meituan Dianping.

Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management, DBS Bank said that the bank looks to build inclusive digital ecosystems for its customers as it steps up to partner companies such as GO-JEK.

"We know that people are desperate for more choice in the sector and we believe we can satisfy this demand. The response from the driver community since we opened pre-registration has been overwhelming and we are confident that by working with DBS, we will see the same level of excitement from consumers too," GO-JEK president, Andre Soelistyo said.

Apart from its partnership with GO-JEK, DBS Bank has also launched the Startup Xchange programme in Singapore and Hong Kong, as it aims to match the bank with its corporate and SME clients’ problem statements to startups.

To help businesses stay relevant in the long run, the Startup Xchange programme is focused on four areas of frontier technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science, immersive media and the Internet of Things. The bank looks to harness these technologies for both the bank and the clients to "stay one step ahead" of their customers, and fulfil their business and lifestyle needs. The Startup Xchange ropes in startups to co-create solutions with the bank, as such addressing business problem statements in real-time.

Since its pilot launch months ago, Startup Xchange was said to have matched 21 startups with units within the bank such as Human Resources, as well as the bank’s SME clients to solve business pain-points. As such, the bank rolled out 10 emerging technology solutions to-date, with another 10 solutions expected to be launched over the next 12 months.

In addition to helping DBS and its clients digitise their business, Startup Xchange also allows startups to showcase the solutions they developed for DBS, and to name the bank as an anchor client when raising capital with the investor community. Startup Xchange had previously worked with a Singapore-based startup called impress.ai, that partnered with DBS’ HR team to create JIM, claimed to be Southeast Asia’s first virtual bank recruiter. After JIM's launch, impress.ai raised US$1.2 million and recorded a five-fold increase in monthly revenues from the partnership, paving its transition from a startup to a more sustainable business.

Startup Xchange is part of a five-year SG$10 million investment made by the bank in 2015 to support the development of startup and also DBS’ mission to become a 26,000-strong startup. It will aim to provide employees learning and collaboration opportunities with startups, to encourage a shift towards design and agile thinking. To date, over 15,000 DBS staff have participated in various initiatives every year.

Furthermore, the Startup Xchange comes at a time when startups are struggling to stay afloat, as DBS research study says. According to the study, 78% of accelerators launched in Singapore over the past three years are now defunct as many startups had failed without the continued support from established sponsors and partners. An Ernst & Young ASEAN Fintech Census earlier this year also revealed that less than 39% of fintech startups benefited from fixed tenures at accelerators.

Bidyut Dumra, head of DBS’ innovation group, said Startup Xchange is a win-win for both the bank and the startup community. “Startups sometimes have the brightest minds to develop the most cutting-edge technology solutions but they lack an anchor client and continuous funding. Startup Xchange is great as it helps the ecosystem of startups, DBS and its customers to commercialise emerging technology solutions to quickly achieve shared business goals," he added.

“One of the best ways to engage, nurture and grow the startup community is through sustainable programmes like Startup Xchange, but let’s not forget the other important piece of the puzzle: DBS employees, who will collaborate with the startups,” Dumra said.

“Startup Xchange provides a platform of true collaboration by fostering a common culture of innovation through design thinking and experimentation for both startups and DBS project sponsors to achieve shared business goals. This will also help us in furthering Singapore’s Smart Nation ambition,” he added.