Digital & Technology

Standard Chartered's Innovation Arm, SC Ventures, Launches audax Financial Technology

SC Ventures, the innovation, fintech investment, and ventures arm of Standard Chartered, has introduced audax Financial Technology ("audax"), a provider of digital banking technology solutions. This launch is geared towards empowering banks and financial institutions to accelerate their digital transformation efforts, explore new business models, cater to diverse customer segments, and generate additional revenue streams.

By 2030, the business-to-business to any-end-user (B2B2X) market is projected to reach annual revenues of USD 440 billion, driven by advancements in financial infrastructure, digital banking, and embedded finance. Audax aims to play a significant role in this expanding market by assisting incumbent banks in two primary use cases: Digital Banking and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS).

Audax offers a comprehensive digital banking platform equipped with modular capabilities designed to efficiently handle large volumes of customer data simultaneously. Its plug-and-play solution covers the entire client lifecycle, encompassing client and staff interfaces, deposit and lending products, client servicing, and data reporting. Built to complement existing core banking systems, audax's infrastructure-agnostic technology allows banks to pursue modern digital transformation without the need for costly in-house development or migration.

Before its official launch, audax's solution powered Standard Chartered nexus ("SC nexus"), a white-label plug-and-play BaaS offering for prominent ecosystem players. Through SC nexus, Standard Chartered Bank became the first global bank to provide BaaS in Asia. Notable partnerships included Bukalapak, an Indonesian all-commerce platform. Utilizing audax's technology, Standard Chartered nexus facilitated BukaTabungan, enabling a swift, paperless digital account opening process. This was achieved through advanced automation and secure technologies, including artificial intelligence, biometric facial recognition, and E-KTP (Indonesia's biometrics-enabled ID program) validation.

Audax's platform will further support SC nexus in establishing digital banking services for Sociolla, a beauty e-commerce platform, and is set to collaborate with SC nexus on a third partner in another market, expected to launch in Q4 2023.

Alex Manson, who leads SC Ventures, highlighted audax's potential to unlock opportunities for financial institutions, emphasizing the successful partnership between Standard Chartered and Bukalapak as an example of audax's ability to provide seamless, paperless digital banking access. Audax aims to replicate this success with other financial institutions seeking partnerships with various platforms.

Headquartered in Singapore, audax aspires to become a globally recognized technology company with a focus on advancing the technology ecosystem, beginning with the APAC region. The fintech's current mission is to empower banks and financial institutions to scale and modernize rapidly through its digital banking capabilities.

Kelvin Tan, the former Managing Director and Global Head of SC nexus, will lead audax as its CEO, along with much of his existing team. Audax will continue to serve Standard Chartered by powering its BaaS proposition, SC nexus, for current and future partnerships. With a proven track record in driving client success through external partnerships and experience in navigating complex technical and regulatory environments within a global bank's ecosystem, audax's team is confident in helping incumbent banks achieve successful digital transformation outcomes.

"The meaning of audax is 'courage' – and that is exactly the defining characteristic of the team we’ve built and needed for what we are about to achieve," said Kelvin Tan. "We are excited to push the frontiers of what is considered possible. Audax has showcased the potential of BaaS and how it has scaled the digital business for Standard Chartered, enabling them to acquire new-to-bank customers at a fraction of traditional customer acquisition costs. We are now ready to scale it for other banks and financial institutions globally, helping everyone create better value for their business without risking their existing estate."