Source: DealStreetAsia

Singapore: Global online payment major PayPal Inc has launched an Innovation Lab in Singapore, its first outside the United States.

This lab will collaborate with government agencies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industry associations and institutes of higher learning, to foster innovation, research and development (R&D), entrepreneurship, talent and expertise in Singapore, the company said. Dr Rohan Mahadevan, chief executive officer of PayPal and SVP of PayPal Asia Pacific, said, “It’s (Singapore) a perfect melting-pot for ideas and innovation – given the strong support from the government, ideas and innovation – given the strong support from the government, its massive talent pool backed by a world-class educational system, vibrant startup ecosystem, and diverse merchant profiles.”

The Innovation Lab will also develop and nurture the next generation of financial technology (fintech) startups with the PayPal Incubator programme. Startups incubating with Paypal will enjoy networking opportunities through the companies own network and venture capital (VC) connections, according to the company. Currently, OnePay, Prosecure.me and InvoiceInterchange are incubating there. 

Singapore is the second country in the Indo-Asia Pacific after India to host the incubator programme. PayPal’s Technology Center in Chennai, India, has been hosting this programme since 2013. Focusing on three core areas – productivity, innovation, and education & information technology – it will be partnering with Singaporean universities. One of the first projects the innovation lab will be undertaking is working with SMEs in the food & beverage (F&B) business, with the aim of improving their productivity.

One such instance is embedding digital payments into business operations, which Japanese restaurant Enbu has done. According to Mahadevan, PayPal in partnership with payment solutions partners like TabSquare and Integral Solutions will have equipped in excess of 200 F&B establishments with in-store digital payment capability.

Talent development and university partnership

PayPals’ Innovation Lab will be working closely with Singaporean universities to develop talent pipelines as the country’s fintech sector grows, with the long-term aim of driving growth in the region and the development of intellectual property (IP) such as patents, technology demonstrators, and proofs-of-concept.

The three universities that PayPal is working with are the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).

With NUS’ Institute of Systems Science, PayPal is working on developing and refining cybernetic authentication tokens and predictive analytics models that operate on the basis of machine learning in order to enable business forecasting and reducing customer churn rate.

With NTU’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, it is working on contextual environment-based authentication, a credit-worthiness analytics engine that mines Big Data from non-traditional data sources (i.e. social media) to derive credit risk and other behavioural insights to aid loan decisions; and AI-powered know-your-customer (KYC) processes.

Additionally, they are exploring predictive fraud analytics to inhibit and minimise fraud using machine learning and cognitive customer service leveraging on neural networks to understand customers’ intent and needs.

With SMU’s School of Information Systems, PayPal is exploring the use of of blockchain for digital KYC applications and forefront cryptography technology such as post-quantum cryptography to future-proof PayPal’s risk and security management systems.

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