Connecting the dots…

Inspiration & creativity come from cross-pollination of various people from different spheres or specializations.  Informal chats and discoveries that arise from interacting with others play a large role in coworking.

Spaces designed to promote these activities increase the likelihood of collaboration – and statistics has repeatedly demonstrated that more collision create positive results.

According to Bisner Newsroom, in 2011 there were about 1000 coworking spaces worldwide, with a dominant presence in Europe and the US. Three years later, in 2014, there are almost 6000 coworking spaces. The forecasts suggest that the growth is unstoppable: by 2018 there will be 37,000 coworking spaces spread across all of the continents. It is expected that by 2018 there will be 2,370,000 professionals who buy membership at a coworking space.

Coworking space, besides being a more reasonable alternative to stand-alone offices has become a symbol of collaboration, connectivity and efficiency. Today large companies, and small business relate to the relevance and importance of collaboration within their teams.

Besides space, coworking entities that can also helps connect with government agencies, external peers, subject matter experts and companies will be the next big wave. The virtual collaboration market in 2016 is expected to be worth $6.4 billion and projected to grow exponentially.

Within the coworking circle, the question being asked is the relevance and importance of having a dedicated space for Fintech. One of reasons could be the fact that working in an open plan environment may not necessarily be appropriate for Fintech startups due to customer data protection and privacy.

Fintech startups have been thriving globally but what is lacking is a very strong support infrastructure. Along with a large enough space to host the growing community, the need of the hour is a strong alignment of initiatives and investment with governments, corporates, regulators and other industry stakeholders.
In future, it is also possible for coworking spaces to give rise to ecosystems that can provide a bouquet of services to enable non-typical startups – eg. fledgling fund managers who may have great ideas for investment products but unable to cross the infrastructure and regulatory hurdles without investing in expensive back office platforms.

Support services including access to Fintech specific network, licensing, legal services and introduction to the right partners, events to share best practices, education around regulatory aspects all under one roof is where Singapore’s future lies in making it an innovative economy.

This fits very well with the country’s aim to build a well-balanced fintech innovation ecosystem that can be adopted globally.

(Image source : The Great Room Offices in Singapore)

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