People are already familiar with co-working companies, but they are not simply traditional real estates anymore that only offer office space rental services. They also serve as connectors between enterprises and enterprises, enterprises and venture capitals, among others.
Bridge+ is an extension of one of Asia's largest real estate companies CapitaLand’s business space portfolio. PingWest interviewed with Marcus Lim, Operations Director of Bridge+, CapitaLand, on what role Bridge+ will play on the tech innovation in Singapore and the whole Asia as well as the outlook for the region’s technology innovation at the SYNC tech gala on December 6, 2019 in Singapore.
For the first question, Marcus told PingWest that for the last two years, Bridge+ has looked at the format of co-working space and how it can support and transform the development of communities that it serves in its real estate, such as business park, IT parks, office towers it has. Bridge+ also introduced flexible workspace offering, private space, co-working space, event space and bring related events to members to the venue. In addition, the company successfully built tribes in Singapore, including Fintech tribes, blockchain tribes, and sustainability and cooperative innovation tribes, where there are members working on these platforms. For example, ASSA ABLOY future lab, a company aimed at observing and analyzing the trends and the future of the security arena, and local banks are members of the Fintech tribes; The blockchain tribe was initially about ICO, but now a key component to the Fintech community; The economic sustainability tribe is an important factor to support the growth and development of of Fintech as well.
By bringing people from different segment together, they have a better opportunity to work as one group for broader partnerships and collaborations between these different segments. This is what Beidge+ were able to support the Fintech community in helping them find the next possibility of development.
Bridge+ also put efforts in China. It just opened two new centers in Dalian and Chongqing on December 2 and 13, 2019, respectively. Besides, Bridge+ remains three cents in Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. It also has centers in another key tech hub in Asia — India. Marcus said that “What we are trying to do is to create community platforms among the tech powerhouses in Singapore, China and India. What inspired Bridge+ to do so is to design services and programs to support more interactions between tech companies, especially tech startups to navigate larger Asian markets.”
Marcus further talked about Fintech communities, saying that they are different from city to city, because Bridge+ believes they have to be organic. “In Singapore we are dedicated to creating new co-working center in 2020 as a Fintech hub; In Shanghai we have two co-working space centers and the manner that we are growing a Fintech community within in Shanghai will also leverage on other neighborhood and ecosystems of communities that we have. So we are working with partners, including VCs, government agencies from Southeast Asia and tribe associations to bring about more networking opportunities and knowledge sharing activities.” In addition, Marcus added that he same is doing in global.
“Singapore Fintech ecosystem has grown over the years. Many foreign Fintech companies and professionals use Singapore as a landing point to explore more opportunities for Southeast Asia,” Maucus said, adding that “We are doing our best to add on to the ecosystem. We can also add value to the larger ecosystem where we foster relations and connections among members, talents and customers of CapitaLand in Singapore.” Marcus has been able to extent the customer base into a greater interaction with the Fintech community in Singapore.
Talking about how Bridge+ will embrace technology, Marcus told PingWest that Bridge+ hopes to be more technology-heavy, because from infrastructure perspective, Bridge+ want to make sure the designed space is well-used by the members and people working in the space. Secondly, when it comes to services, what Bridge+ hopes to deliver is helping camp members connect better. To be more specific, Bridge+ needs to know who is doing what, what their interests are, and who are their target stakeholders. These are the part that technology can support, by giving us a tool to quickly faster assist the members or group of users, otherwise we have to rely on the work of community manager to make the introductions.
PingWest asked how Marcus think of the outlook of Singapore and the whole Southeast Asia’s fintech industry. He gave is very positive answer, saying that Singapore sees a lot of attention to this sector, in particular in Southeast Asia where there is a huge unserved population and many opportunities for us to introduce more inclusive financing solutions to the large population. In that regard, opportunities are tremendous, but challenges exist as well, especially when it comes to adoption. There are barriers that whether it’s a Fintech institution, the large one or the startups, we need to find a way to navigate between these blocks, but that is where we are finding the way which will be eventually successful in this region.”