Fintech Pitch Session in Tokyo 2017

Tech Expertise from the UK is of Interest to Companies in Japan

Fourteen companies from the UK attended the Fintech Pitch Session at the British Embassy in Tokyo. Some of the best representatives of fintech talent in the UK made up the delegation.

Companies dealing with a range of issues from cybersecurity to insurance to password protection pitched their technology and products to key players in the financial industry.

There were ample opportunities for networking during and after the session.

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UK Companies Innovating in the Fintech Sector

Darktrace is the world’s leading machine learning company for cybersecurity, and works with a number of clients in government, academia and commercial organisations.

Their product, created at the University of Cambridge, uses human immune systems concepts as inspiration for their technology. It understands what belongs to the system and what is a foreign object.

John Kirch, Country Manager for North Asia, explained how the technology works. “Darktrace can identify an imminent attack before it happens, detecting attacks that bypass traditional systems.”

The system runs in real time, providing visibility and detecting threats as they occur.

A big problem in Japan is ransomware, and Darktrace has identified 27,000 threats in 50 companies since March 2016.

The premise of PixelPin is simple: “One picture. Four points. No passwords.”

This use of a picture login system eliminates the need for passwords along with their inherent weaknesses.

Up to 99% of passwords can be found on hacker sites, and almost 50% of people have shared their password with someone else.

The user-friendly 2-factor authentication system is suitable for use across multiple devices, whether desktop, tablet or smartphone.

PixelPin’s founders are from the military, defence and security markets, and the company works with Microsoft, KPMG, Aerohive Networks and Endava.

UK-based foreign exchange company WorldFirst handles secure international money transfers for businesses and individuals.

Their Application Programming Interface (API) provides a solution for global payments, which is especially useful to ecommerce sellers working predominantly online.

WorldFirst has previously won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2016 for International Trade, and has several office locations around the world, including Tokyo.

The following companies also gave five-minute pitches to attendees:

Opportunity Network, is a digital platform that connects banks’ best clients to business deals above USD 1 million worldwide. In Japan they are seeking partnership and collaboration opportunities with banks such as MUFG, Mitsui Sumitomo and Mizuho.

Edgefolio introduces itself as “the hedge fund platform,” and works to connect fund managers and investors through data.

FundApps deals with financial regulation and compliance, and manages these aspects of the financial industry as a service.

DivDoc reduces the administrative burden of financial firms by offering secure compliance services.

Currency Cloud, is re-imagining the way money flows through the global digital economy. Payment systems are evolving and Currency Cloud’s API  enables customers to customise their workflows and automate their entire end-to-end international payment processes.

PaySafe prides itself on delivering a total suite of payment services. They also provide proprietary products and scalable tools needed for clients to grow their business.

Wirex is an award winning global blockchain personal banking platform. Bitcoin is the most traceable currency in the world, and Wirex provide bitcoin debit cards as one of their services. Japan is their fastest growing market.

Tradle helps externalise transactions to scale world commerce. Tradle is able to deliver this through an inclusive open source project and proprietary business tools.

The Floow is transforming the field of automotive insurance globally, with their technology. The firm’s technology and science, which include gathering data from phones, smartwatches and black boxes, are backing some of the world’s largest insurers in the world today, creating savings for the insurance market as well as saving lives. As the leading telematics app in the industry, The Floow won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category in 2016.

RiskSave provides an online solution for digital asset management. The firm focuses on providing smart portfolios that can be managed from anywhere at any time.

ClearMacro provides a robust, rules-based, systematic approach to institutional asset management. Their products use the power of data to remove human bias. They are looking for their first opportunity in Japan, and are able to offer a bespoke product for the Japanese market.

Britain Continues to Invest in Top Tech Talent

It is clear that fintech is an industry that continues to disrupt the financial sector and that the UK is at the cutting edge of new developments in this sector.

Such a position ensures that countries like Japan will seek opportunities for collaboration and to do business with UK firms.

London will host the first annual International Fintech Conference in April 2017, to further cement its position as a global leader in this field, and to attract more investment into Britain’s world leading fintech sector.


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Article and photo by Vanessa Holden, January 2017.