Fintech solutions for startups & small businesses in New Zealand

September 22, 2017

According to a study by Accenture, fintech investment in Asia-Pacific skyrocketed in 2015, from about USD 880 million in all of 2014 to nearly USD 3.5 billion in just the first nine months of 2015. In New Zealand, experts observe that fintech has grown despite the lack of a clear strategy from the government, with initiatives such as the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator programme launched in late 2016. FinTechNZ, a financial innovation and technology association in New Zealand, was launched earlier this year.

Source: Accenture
As the financial services industry began to embrace the potential of fintech, it is important to remember that the benefits of fintech are not just limited to just that few industries or sectors. Given that fintech redefines the way that we borrow, lend, save, store and transfer money, business owners and startup founders also stand to gain.

Related reading: Navigating The Regulatory Challenges Of #FinTech

Here, we give you the lowdown on key fintech startups in New Zealand that will make the lives of small businesses and startups easier.

For fundraising: Equitise

Founded in 2014 by a team with backgrounds in law, investment banking, financial services and equity capital markets, Equitise is a online equity crowdfunding platform that brings together investors and startups, enabling New Zealand startups to raise capital from the crowd. According to co-founder Chris Gilbert, raising capital through a platform like Equitise often leads to greater after-market support for the stocks, due to the broader base of shareholders.

Now that the Australian government has passed the first wave of crowdfunding legislation to enable companies to raise capital from mum and dad investors under certain conditions, as well as sophisticated investors, the future of Equitise looks bright as it will be launching in Australia.  

Equity crowdfunding is well suited to B2C companies, as such companies can leverage their customer database by inviting them to invest in the offer. This would allow the company to simultaneously use the fundraising process as a marketing campaign.

For insurance: Insurely

Occupying a sub-category of fintech known as insurtech, Insurely is an online platform that helps small to medium businesses to research, choose, and apply for insurance policies. As one of the first batch in the Kiwibank Accelerator programme, Insurely received NZD 20,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6% equity. The platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give users advice and bring clarity and management to small to medium business’ insurance policy management.

For sales: Vend

Source: Vend

Founded in 2009, Vend now has 200 staff in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) and retail platform enables retailers to accept payments, sell in-store and online, manage their inventor, reward customer loyalty, and report on their business in real-time. This allows business owners to coordinate their sales across multiple retail platforms, analyse their sales data and make better data-supported sales decisions.

Vend has integrations with other digital platforms, such as e-commerce platform Shopify and cloud-based accounting software Xero.

For accounting: Xero

Source: Xero

Having been around for more than ten years, cloud-based accounting software Xero can hardly be considered a startup. Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, Xero now leads the New Zealand, Australian and United Kingdom cloud accounting markets. Xero’s software provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position.

Xero has racked up an impressive array of accolades, including the Best Overall Fintech award at the Fintech Breakthrough Award 2017. More impressively, Xero has integrations with more than 500 apps acros a range of industries and business functions, including inventory, time tracking, and debtor tracking.

Learn how to manage your legal & accounting needs with Dragon Law’s Xero Integration

Does your company in New Zealand use a fintech solution?

Share with us in the comments below!

3 takeaways from Day 1 of SWITCH Singapore 2017

September 19, 2017

Source: SWITCH

With the slew of startup and tech events happening in the next couple of days, it’s an exciting week for the startup and innovation community in Singapore. Organised by SGInnovate and funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in Singapore, the Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH) is a platform where complementing tech and innovation events come together to showcase Singapore’s vibrant entrepreneurial and technology innovation ecosystem.

Related reading: How to start a business in Singapore

Now in its second year, SWITCH is bringing together events such as Slush, a global movement originally founded in Helsinki to change attitudes towards entrepreneurship, and the Women In Tech Conference (Asia) 2017.

Day 1 of SWITCH Singapore kickstarted with an opening address by Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat. This was followed by a panel discussion on “Imagining a New World with Technology” featuring a star-studded line-up including moderator Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate and panelists Mike Descheneaux, President, Silicon Valley Bank; William Bao Bean, General Partner, SOSV; Taizo Son, CEO, Mistletoe; and Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist, Hanson Robotics. 

Here, we outline three key takeaways from Day 1 of SWITCH.

1. Nurturing both tech & entrepreneurial talent is crucial for ensuring that ideas get commercialised

When Leonard asked the panelists what they would be looking at in terms of technology developments in the next couple of years, Son shared that one thing to keep our eye on is updating the education system for children. As Minister Heng rightly stated, innovation is driven by people.

It is therefore promising that the Singapore government has introduced initiatives to nurture tech and entrepreneurial talent. Since it was established last year, SGInnovate has been hard at work bringing together entrepreneurs, industry mentors, venture capitalists and research talent through programmes such as globally established Entrepreneur First (EF). The first cohort of EF has built 12 companies and applied for 9 patents, as well as attracted interest from more than 60 investors.

The pace of change today is the slowest it will ever be. – Mike Descheneaux, President, Silicon Valley Bank

More initiatives are set to come. Minister Heng announced two programmes in particular that are targeted at tertiary level institutions. The first is Lean LaunchPad (LLP), a national entrepreneurship training programmes spearheaded by several universities in Singapore. By pushing researchers to talk to potential users and customers and better understand user needs, Lean LaunchPad aims to increase the number of technologies that go to market. Each of the universities – the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) – will run thematic tracks focused on different areas of tech, such as robotics and infocomm technology (ICT). 22 teams have been selected for the programme’s first run.

The other initiative that launched yesterday is Pollinate, an incubator that is targeted at students and alumni from Singapore’s polytechnics. Driven by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic, Pollinate will give participants opportunities to collaborate with SMEs to address problems in the SME sector.

2. It’s important to think about the social implications of tech advancements as well

As technology and automation become more advanced and replace human jobs, will we create a class of useless people?

Will social structures change in the future from being governed in a centralised manner to something more self-organising?

These were some of the questions that arose during the panel discussion. Indeed, the social implications of tech developments are something that we should start thinking about. On the question of governance, Son was of the view that society will become more decentralised, with smaller communities.

The panelists acknowledged that the disruption brought about by tech advancements, and AI in particular, will make work redundant. There inevitably will be a class of people that will be left jobless.

Goertzel pointed out, however, that human beings can still carry out intellectual, spiritual and artistic pursuits.

There are a lot of things to do besides carrying out tasks to accumulate resources for your survival. Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist, Hanson Robotics

Yet, Singapore is a country where the social security system greatly favours vulnerable individuals who are at the very least engaged in some form of employment. For instance, one source of top-ups to the social security scheme – known as the Central Provident Fund (CPF) – is contributions from one’s employer. It is not clear how the elimination of an entire layer of jobs will be dealt with. Perhaps it’s time for us to start paying attention to the debate on universal basic income as a potential solution to the upcoming vulnerable class of jobless individuals.

3. Collaboration between incumbents and innovators is how magic is made

In response to a question by a member of the audience on how innovative and traditional companies can best work together to push boundaries, Bao Bean shared about the challenges that MNCs and startups face when working together. For starters, the goals of a MNC and a startup are very far apart and they tend to speak a different language. There therefore tends to be a difference in expectations when working together. In his experience working with startups and MNCs, the best approach seems to be to match a startup to an MNC where the startup works with the corporate on something specific and roll that out. Thus far, large corporates that he has worked with include Johnson & Johnson, Nestle and Visa.

Companies are good at executing. Startups are good at experimenting. It’s hard to bring those things together. – Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate

Yet, magic happens precisely at the intersection of experimentation and execution.

Come say hi to he Dragons at SWITCH Singapore 2017!

 

Here at Dragon Law, we recognise that striving to best serve our clients means working together with other organisations and companies when necessary. This is why we collaborate with law firms, corporate advisory firms and HR consultancies via our Dragon Law Certified Advisors programme. On top of access to all the features in the Dragon Law app, clients who opt for our Premium Plan will also get a dedicated law firm that they can turn to should they require specialised advice or document drafting.

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Dragon Law today.

Attending SWITCH 2017?

Share your experience with us in the comments below! 

Are You Aware Of These Employment Laws In Singapore?

Hiring employees in Singapore is definitely not infringing on any laws. However, before do you so, are you aware that as an employer, you have to fulfill certain obligations under the Employment Act?

On top of detailing the minimum terms and conditions of employment, the Employment Act also spells out the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees under a contract of service. Moreover, if your employee is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident, you as an employer is required to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for them.

Here is an overview of the Employment Act that you, as an employer, need to be aware of.

Which employees are covered under the Employment Act?

The Employment Act covers every employee (regardless of nationality) who is under a contract of service with the employer. However, the following employees are not covered under the Employment Act:

  • Managers and executives who earn basic monthly salaries of more than S$4,500
  • Seafarers
  • Domestic workers
  • Statutory board and government employees

Payment of Salary

You should pay your employees salary and overtime pay at least once a month. Salary has to be disbursed to employees within 7 days after the end of the salary period. Overtime pay has to be paid to employees within 14 days after the end of the salary period.

Working Hours

Under the Employment Act, your employees should not work more than 44 hours a week (excluding break time and overtime). All work done in excess of the contractual hours is considered as overtime work. Additionally, do note that overtime payment is at 1.5 times the hourly basic rate if you require your employees to work overtime.

Including overtime, the total working hours should not exceed 12 hours a day and total overtime must not exceed 72 hours a month.

Rest Days

You should grant your employees at least one rest day every week without pay. If you require your employee to work on a rest day, you should pay them based on the terms specified under the Employment Act.

Public Holidays, Sick Leave and Annual Leave

All your employees are entitled to 11 paid public holidays per year. Should you require your employee to work on a public holiday, they should be given either an extra day’s salary or a replacement day off.

Under the Employment Act, your employees are entitled to paid outpatient sick leave and hospitalisation leave annually if they have:

  • Worked with the organisation for at least 3 months
  • Obtained a medical certificate from the company doctor, company approved doctor or a government doctor
  • Informed you of the sick leave within 48 hours

Do keep in mind that for new employees, the number of days of paid sick leave entitlement is prorated according to their service period.

Your employees are entitled to paid annual leave if they have worked at least 3 months for you. For new employees with less than a year length of service, they are entitled to prorated annual leave based on the months of service.

If you happen to hire part-time employees (those who work less than 35 hours a week under a contract of service), do remember that they are entitled to employment benefits such as paid public holidays, sick leave, annual leave and childcare leave. However, their entitlement should be prorated according to the number of hours worked by a similar full-time employee.

CPF Contributions

As an employer, you are required to pay CPF contributions to all employees who are Singapore Citizens/Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) earning more than S$50 per month.

This is also applicable even if your employees are hired on a part-time/ad-hoc/contract basis or during their probation period.

Related reading: What are my CPF contribution obligations as an employer in Singapore?

Key Employment Terms (KETs)

Effective 1 April 2016, as an employer, you are required to issue key employment terms (KETs) in writing to all employees covered under the Employment Act.

Essentially, these KETs can be issued in soft or hard copy and should be given to all employees within 14 days from the start of employment.

Items to include in the KETs can be found on the MOM website.

Itemised Payslips

Likewise, you are required to issue all your employees itemised payslips to employees covered under the Employment Act.

Details on what items to include can be found on the MOM website.

Non-compliance

It is imperative to be familiar with the Employment Act to avoid incurring any unnecessary costs or non-compliance with these statutory laws.

Non-compliance of the Employment Act can result in a fine of between S$3,000 and S$15,000 and/or maximum of 6 months’ jail term.

Additionally, subsequent offenders are subjected to a fine of between S$6,000 and S$30,000 and/or maximum 12 months’ jail term.

If you have yet to familiarise yourself with the employment laws in Singapore, perhaps it is high time that you do so!

Claim your free trial. Start drafting legal documents with Dragon Law today.

This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

[Press Release] ECYT launches first Dragon Law white label product

September 18, 2017

ECYT Law LLC Partners With Dragon Law to Provide Businesses Seeking to Expand Through Asia and USA With Technology-Driven Legal Services.

ECYT Law LLC, a leading Singapore-based commercial law firm, has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with Dragon Law, a prominent cloud-based legal software company, to provide efficient, technology-driven, and customized legal services to SMEs in Asia and the USA seeking to expand into and throughout Asia and the USA. The partnership of ECYT Law LLC and Dragon Law will provide SMEs and multinational corporations with increased, cost-effective access to legal services. The technology will help individuals and entities seeking to do business in Asia and the USA with legal documentation that satisfies national and international compliance standards, enter into transactions with business partners, and conduct business with investors and employees.

Through this unprecedented partnership, ECYT Law LLC will provide SME clients with a suite of online legal tools providing cost-effective and automated solutions along with customized legal advice from experienced business attorneys to help SMEs meet their legal challenges and reach their goals in an efficient matter. Among the online legal tools provided through this partnership are customized document building, sharing, and electronic signing, fully powered by Dragon Law’s technology, which has already served 15,000 SMEs from its offices across Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Through Dragon Law’s live-chat function, ECYT Law LLC will provide industry-tailored legal advice and guidance on, among other matters, the drafting of essential legal documents as well as the review or amendment of such documents, allowing businesses to efficiently and cost-effectively manage their day-to-day and long-term legal needs.

The partnership reflects ECYT Law LLC’s and Dragon Law’s shared commitment to making legal services more accessible and affordable for SMEs and ECYT Law LLC’s commitment to embracing changes in the legal landscape that have been brought about by technology. ECYT Law LLC has a long-standing commitment to being a leading provider of cost-effective legal services to SMEs both in Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangdong and the USA – as well as businesses across the world seeking to expand their reach into Singapore, Asia and the USA. With this newly announced partnership with Dragon Law, ECYT Law LLC looks forward to serving many more SME clients with affordable and comprehensive legal services.

About ECYT Law

ECYT Law LLC has been providing a wide variety of legal services to SMEs doing business in Singapore and across Asia for over 2 years. Its founder, Eric Chew, has been in practice for 18 years. From its offices in Singapore, San Francisco and Hong Kong, ECYT Law LLC provides SMEs with legal advice in the areas of Building and Construction; Commercial and Corporate; Data Protection; Dispute Resolution; Employment Issues; Insolvency and Restructuring; Intellectual Property; Landlord and Tenant Law; Probate, Estates & Trusts and Maritime Law.

About Dragon Law

With approximately 60 staff across Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, Dragon Law offers a cloud-based software that empowers users to save time and money by actively managing the legal aspects of their business. Since its conception in 2012 and launch in 2014, Dragon Law has grown to a user base of more than 15,000, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, in-house counsels, lawyers and business advisors. Recently, Dragon Law announced its integration with Xero, the award-winning cloud accounting software.

For further information, please contact:
Raisa Vitales, Project Manager,
+65 6812 0491
9am-6pm GMT+8
raisa.vitales@ecytlaw.com

What the heck is legaltech?

September 14, 2017

by Chris Sykes, Legal Tech Evangelist @ Dragon Law

The prodigal solicitor returns

I’ve recently returned to the UK to prepare for the launch of Dragon Law here. In an attempt to build up a network of law firms (some of whom will work with us) I naturally reached out to old friends and colleagues in my profession. I’ve been away from the UK for over 6 years, but some of them remembered the scruffy criminal lawyer of days gone by.

After years of being at the centre of the legal tech scene in Hong Kong, Dragon Law’s Chris Sykes is now back in the UK as Legal Tech Evangelist!

What the hell do you do?

I’m not so daft that I would think other busy professionals would follow my adventures away from the UK, and many friends simply assumed I’d been working for a law firm in Hong Kong that has a cool logo. However, what did surprise me was that many lawyers didn’t know what legaltech (often lawtech in the UK) is at all.

Admittedly, this is not surprising in the area of criminal law in which I used to work. The criminal justice process is very ‘offline’ indeed and lawyers are too busy staying up to date with case law and the masses of new criminal legislation to worry about advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for evidence review. However, many in other areas of practice do not follow recent developments in this field, perhaps because it’s perceived as a ‘big law’ thing that can’t be used by smaller firms. I’m not sure.

Everything changes but you

In every area of law I believe it’s worth staying abreast of changes in technology whether you work in crime, employment, or corporate.  In other professions it’s imperative to keep up-to-date – a surgeon of 30 years experience still uses the latest surgical technology.

I’m not suggesting that all legaltech is great or even useful, but a lot certainly is. Globally many regulators and governments have started to take steps to ensure that they are part of the technological changes in the legal profession.  A recent report by the Singapore Academy of Law is a prime example.

What is most startling about the above report is the scope of stakeholders involved in the consultation: the Law Society of Singapore, the Ministry of Law, government lawyers, leading academics, technology companies, and a variety of different law firms of all sizes.

Not London

Of course, I don’t suggest that lawyers in the UK are disinterested across the board. London in particular has a huge number of lawyers and entrepreneurs involved in LegalTech – check out the amazing Legal Geek for a start. Maybe the excitement of my industry has yet to be felt ‘up north’ and in the smaller firms of England’s northern cities. Time will tell and I guess my role is to blow the legaltech trumpet on the streets of Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.

Start managing your legal needs with Dragon Law today

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