Five Fintechs On Friday – September 09, 2021

The Finnie Awards is going virtual again! We are excited to bring everyone together for the evening on October 13, 2021 (5:45 pm – 7:00 pm AEST) to celebrate the many successes in the Australian fintech industry! Register now via the following link for your chance to win a gift box! Register Now

But first, news from the industry…

Major partnership deals in the recent days with Volt Bank partnering with BTC MarketsButn with Ola Ride SharingBano with Nium and Trade Ledger with ScotPac. Capital also raised by Open Insurance and Azupay! And lastly congratulations to Link4 for the Treasury contract and Swyftx for launching in NZ.The industry comes together to talk about debanking and cryptocurrencies among other key challenges in the Senate Select Committee public hearings.

Below are five fintechs we shortlisted for this fortnight

Sandstone

Sandstone Technology is a global FinTech providing comprehensive origination and digital banking solutions for financial institutions across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the United Kingdom. For the past 25+ years, Sandstone has been creating flexible, robust, end-to-end solutions that simplify onboarding, loan origination, retail banking, and AI & ML powered Intelligent Document Processing. When it comes to future-proofing your business and building the capability to grow in the most efficient and compliant way, you’re in safe hands with Sandstone. We are proud of our exceptionally strong track record in de-risking and delivering complex transformation programs, and our deep domain expertise in dealing with local industry regulations makes us the transformation partner of choice.

SplitOff

SplitOff is a Sydney based company providing a payment method that allows multiple people to pay for one order or bill. It delivers a better customer experience across e-commerce and utility sectors and gives businesses a way to combine the power of multiple people paying together within a single transaction. SplitOff eliminates the hassle of splitting mutual payments completely. As a result, businesses get lower customer acquisition costs and competitive advantages in the saturated markets such as sharing accommodations, food or drinks delivery and online gifts. SplitOff: co-payments are made simple.

Spenda

Spenda delivers an integrated digital platform that manages transaction flow from quote to pay and on-demand lending. Ultimately, by improving how businesses trade and get paid, Spenda’s solution enables businesses to transform with fast, error-free digital efficiency and aims to boost cash flow across the entire supply chain. Spenda is a core product of Cirralto Limited, an ASX listed company with over 20 years’ experience in delivering B2B payment services, digital trading software and integrated solutions. For more information, please visit www.spenda.co.

NUAI

NUAI is an innovative Artificial Intelligence company that provides customised, flexible, and scalable AI solutions to empower startups and businesses. Whether you build AR/VR, self-driving cars, blockchain, mobile apps, and robots, or want to turn your data into a powerful selling machine with chatbots, personalised recommendations like TikTok and Netflix. We also help to protect your business with fraud detection or continuous identity verification. NUAI specialised in business-centric AI algorithms and models in Automated Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and much more. You can break the pattern of manual labor, navigate the unpredictable future with NUAI’s Artificial Intelligence.

Lensell

LENSELL® is the Global Platform for Corporate Performance Democratisation. Using standardisation, data analytics and AI technologies LENSELL streamlines the communication between investors and corporates. It provides users with a suite of innovative applications that make reporting and accessing corporate performance data and insights (financial and non-financial) a breeze – fast, easy, and very affordable. From digital financial reporting using international business standards to unique investment planning and pollution awareness applications, LENSELL arms investors with innovative tools they can use to make better informed decisions with confidence.

Check out our previous issues here!

Navigating rental relief with Law Squared

We know a lot of our friends with commercial and retail leases are doing it tough – whether that’s because they’re running on reduced capacity, or their businesses are currently shut – however, there is finally some rental relief reprieve from state governments in addition to the rental relief measures in place from last year.

The NSW and VIC governments have just released updated Regulations which allow each business on a commercial or retail lease to seek rental relief from their landlord.

To help you kick start these conversations with your landlord, our friends at Law Squared have once again created some free resources which will provide guidance on the arrangements you can come to with your landlord given the difficult economic times caused by COVID-19.

These include:

  1. Rental Relief Fact Sheet and Letter to Landlord (Victoria): Given the substantial differences between the 2020 Regulations and the recent Regulations, the Law Squared Fact Sheet provides great insights on the differences. You can then utilise the template letter which should form the basis of your rental relief request with your landlord. There are a series of input fields and comments throughout the letter to assist you in customising the letter for your business/leasing needs.
  2. Rental Relief Calculator (Victoria): The Regulations outlines a number of tests to be applied to determine the rent waiver and deferral amounts. Law Squared have created a calculator to assist you in determining the relevant amounts.
  3. Rental Relief Letter to Landlord (New South Wales): You can then utilise the template letter which should form the basis of your rental relief request with your landlord. There are a series of input fields and comments throughout the letter to assist you in customising the letter for your business/leasing needs.

These resources are now available for free through the Law Squared website.

If you have any queries related to the rental relief resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to Law Squared Founder, Demetrio Zema (dzema@lawsquared.co) or a member of the Law Squared team. They are more than happy to assist you during these unprecedented times.

7 Ways to Secure Funding for your Tech Startup

Australian technology startups have certainly shone on the global stage in recent years. Brilliant minds across software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and other related fields have contributed major innovations within the tech space.building start-up tech

Getting any new business off the ground is no easy feat though. And in a hyper-competitive field such as technology, it can be particularly challenging.

If you’re embarking on a new venture, it’s likely that funding is weighing heavily on your mind. Whether you’ve only just begun or are almost ready to go to market, funding could be the ticket to get you to the next stage in your business journey.

Here are 7 ways to help you drum up cash so you can take those all-important next steps – be it testing new ideas, hiring new employees, or preparing to launch.

Read full article here

Treasury extends e-invoicing contract with Link4

The Department of the Treasury has extended its contract with Link4, their chosen e-invoicing provider. After an initial 12-month period where Link4 successfully completed an integration, training and invoice deliveries, the Treasury agreed to continue using Link4 to provide e-invoicing services for the department.

“Link4 have delivered a smooth and seamless e-invoicing experience for the Treasury, which is why they have chosen to extend this contract,” noted Robin Sands, Link4 CEO. “Our team is very experienced in providing e-invoicing services in Australia and it shows with projects like this.”

The ATO estimates that e-invoicing will benefit the Australian economy to the extent of $28 billion over 10 years. E-invoicing prevents invoice fraud, reduces time and money spent on manual data entry, and is better for the environment. Government suppliers who adopt e-invoicing benefit from 5-day payment terms, which significantly improves cash-flow for any Australian business.

“The Treasury were e-invoicing receive capable in December 2020, following a TechnologyOne upgrade, but only a handful of other departments have followed in their footsteps” says Sands. “Currently only 17.6% of Australian Government Departments are ready for e-invoicing, but thousands of businesses are actively using e-invoicing today.”

Government departments have been slow to adopt this new efficient service, even though it helps SMEs and will support economic recovery. Treasury are an outlier and set a positive example. It is great to see them continue supporting this initiative, and with Link4 as their trusted access point.

Contact Information:
Alice Brook | Link4 Marketing
aliceb@link4.com.au

About Link4
Link4 is an award winning, Peppol certified Access Point that provides seamless e-invoicing services throughout Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Counted amongst Link4’s government clients (such as The Treasury, DISER, AOFM and APRA) are BOC Australia, the BGW Group, and thousands of Australian businesses that use Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks as their accounting system.

Global Open Finance Challenge

This November, four leading banks from across the globe are joining forces to explore the future of finance in the Global Open Finance Challenge. The event will be co-hosted by NAB (Australia), ITAU (Brazil), NatWest (UK) and CIBC (Canada), and is the first of its kind.

The Global Open Finance Challenge is a week-long virtual event that will bring together teams from around the world to pitch API-enabled propositions on a global stage. Participants will receive mentoring from respected banking executives and ventures teams before going head-to-head with their ideas.

The top four teams will each have the opportunity to participate in a post-event tailored incubation program. This program will include the following:

  • Proof of Concept with a Bank: a dedicated in-bank team to collaborate and support a proof of concept, including feedback from front-line and customer research groups.
  • Ventures Pitch: Post-Event Teams will have the opportunity to pitch to all of the Banks’ ventures teams
  • Local Market Guidance: Post-Event Teams will receive exclusive meetings where in-bank teams will provide education on the Banks local market environments.
  • Senior Leadership: exposure to internal decision makers for networking relationship support and partner discussion
  • Media Coverage: the winning teams will be featured in press releases across global and local banking, fintech, and technology media channels
  • Solution Architecture: expert consultants from Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) will provide support on functional and technical designs

Your opportunity to build an API-enabled concept in response to one of the following challenges: 

  • Experience: How can we better serve our corporate and business customers, and the public at large, by delivering high-value digital services?
  • Convenience: How can we help current and new customers access banking services through more convenient or relevant digital channels?
  • Sustainability: How can we find innovative ways to help our customers make better decisions around climate and sustainability?

Registrations close 26 September, 2021

Where: Online

Cost: Free

Registration and more infowww.globalopenfinancechallenge.com

 

Why participate?

    • Growing and nurturing domestic talent and ideas to solve global problems
    • Teams can access APIs from 4 global banks (which normally have a hire barrier to entry to obtain accreditation to leverage) which is a great chance for Aus start-ups to test their solutions in new marketing
    • The above complimented by the fact winners will get a PoC with the global banks – all banks have committed – A great opportunity for AUS start-ups to expand overseas with the help of local banks and AWS
    • NAB Ventures are supporting finalist teams – great chance for businesses to showcase to the team
    • IP remains with the participants – the banks will not own any of the IP
    • The judges are all the banks CEOs  AND the CTO of Amazon Group
    • Opportunity for students to showcase their work front of global banking, VC and Amazon execs
    • Mentorship is included in the process so are webinars, fire side chats, networking and pitch workshops – all online

Australian crypto start-up expands into New Zealand

Australian cryptocurrency start-up, Swyftx, has launched in New Zealand following a period of rapid growth that has seen it become one of the country’s fastest growing tech companies.

Swyftx, a digital assets exchange founded by high school friends Alex Harper (27) and Angus Goldman (26), enters the Kiwi market after achieving revenue growth of more than 6,000% in the last financial year. It is now the second largest Australian cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume.

Swyftx was founded in a Brisbane house-share by Harper and Goldman in 2018. The two met at a national computer science program.

In the last financial year, Swyftx’s customer base grew by 1,659% – adding up to 8,000 users a day to its platform in 2021. The company currently employs more than 120 staff – up from 11 team members at the start of the 20/21 financial year.

The Brisbane-based business has around 350,000 customers across Australia and becomes the largest digital assets provider by range of coins offered of any crypto exchange registered to operate in New Zealand.

“It’s still early days for crypto but we’re confident it will reshape how finance works in the ANZ region.” said Swyftx Co-Founder and CEO, Alex Harper.

“The Australian market has developed extremely quickly this year and we see similar growth potential in New Zealand. Looking forward, the potential applications and use cases for blockchain technology and digital assets are almost limitless in both countries.”

Swyftx has expanded significantly over the last year following rapid growth in the global cryptocurrency market. The total market capitalisation of all digital assets grew from around USD $380bn in August last year to a peak of over $2tn this month.

“For a year and a half, Angus and I spent many long hours building the business from a small room in our Brisbane share-house. We’re now the second biggest, and most trusted digital asset exchange in Australia,” said Harper.

“Swyftx has been completely bootstrapped. We’ve focused on security, customer service, low fees, and diverse digital asset investment options. We’re confident the model will appeal to Kiwi crypto users.”

Harper said around 800,000 Kiwis were forecast to use cryptocurrency, with the total market for digital assets in New Zealand estimated to be around $200m this year.

Swyftx officially launched its New Zealand platform on 31 August, 2021. Its entry into the market increases the number of digital assets available through NZ registered crypto exchanges to more than 280.

The additional cryptocurrencies are estimated to have a total market cap in excess of USD $25bn.

“The Australian and New Zealand markets share important similarities, including a generally sophisticated understanding of cryptocurrencies among users, so this is a move we’ve wanted to make for a long time,” said Harper.

“We’ve already got high demand from New Zealanders using our Australian platform. We’re also seeing significantly more institutional investors turning to crypto as a defence against inflationary pressures and low rates. A trend we expect to see replicated in New Zealand.”

Harper said New Zealand crypto trading platforms tend to work differently from those in other markets.

“Existing NZ exchanges work by simply booking a trade with them. What this means is that you send them the money for a cryptocurrency and they send you the coin. It is basically just a pass through of funds.

“Our exchange allows local crypto users to hold an account in NZ dollars on the platform and make deposits easily through bank transfer – giving users the ability to trade in and out of different coins more easily.”

Open raises $31m Series B to bring connected insurance to the world

Australasian insurtech Open raised a $31 million growth round from international investors, led by Movac (NZ) with Latitude (UK) and returning investor AirTree Ventures (AU). This brings the scale-up’s total capital raised to $53 million.

Open is on a mission to provide the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world. Its car and home insurance products are digitised from end-to-end, making insurance simple and fast for everyone, everywhere. Open’s customers enjoy a fast, predictable customer experience, with 80% of insurance tasks – from quote to claim – being completed automatically or via digital self-service experiences.

Having proven the model for connected insurance in Australia with over 70,000 customers, Open is now expanding internationally, first to New Zealand, launching in late 2021, and then to the UK, targeting a launch of mid-2022. Open will use the funds to expand its teams based in Australia and New Zealand, accelerate growth and add new products for the SME segment. The funding round follows a strong year, which saw the business more than double its revenue.

Globally, insurance is one of the world’s least digitally mature industries, scoring just 47 out of 100 on BCG’s Digital Acceleration Index. Lying significantly below other financial services sectors, insurance has remained confusing, paper-based, heavily intermediated and completely isolated from consumers’ digital worlds.

Open is capitalising on a  global opportunity for connected insurance. “Imagine a world in which you only pay for car insurance based on how much you drive, your home contents policy automatically updates when you buy new tech, and your travel insurance automatically activates when you land in another country. These are the possibilities Open’s connected insurance offers today through our direct to consumer brand Huddle, as well as partnerships with leading brands such as Telstra Plus, ahm, and On by EnergyAustralia.” notes Jason Wilby, one of Open’s Cofounders.

Open’s partners can embed insurance into any app or website in just a couple of hours, via Open’s powerful APIs, making it simple to share data, prepopulate quotes, and offer personalised savings. Fintechs, car and home lenders, telcos, utilities and insurers are partnering with Open to create new revenue streams by offering embedded insurance.

Insurance is one of the last areas of financial services to be disrupted, chiefly due to high barriers to entry. “Insurtech is years behind payments and lending in terms of digitisation and it’s in need of renewed focus on customer outcomes.” said Jason Graham , Partner, Movac.  “Open is the leading embedded insurance player across Australia and New Zealand. Their technology is built to bring trust back to the insurance industry and through their exponential growth, we can see that consumers prefer this new, ethical, digital way of doing insurance. Open had a number of investor options, and we’re delighted that they were compelled by our experience, networks and investment track record. Open becomes our ninth portfolio company in Fund 5”.

“We’ve always been driven to deliver better outcomes for customers by solving insurance problems with technology. Now, with international VC funds, Movac and Latitude, backing our mission, we’re excited about helping customers across the world save money, time and stress.” Jonathan Buck, Cofounder Open.

About Open
Open is on a mission to offer the fastest insurance at the best price for the world. Businesses of all sizes embed Open’s car, home and travel insurance into their digital experiences.

Our flagship products are available under the Huddle brand, and also as a bespoke white-label solution. We work with many large brands and leading tech companies such as Telstra Plus, Plenti, ahm, and On by EnergyAustralia.

Open operates across Australia and New Zealand today, and soon will expand to the UK and Europe. We are proud to count Airtree Ventures (AU), Movac (NZ), Latitude (UK), Hollard Insurance (AU), Seven West Media (AU) and Five V (AU) amongst our investors. Open products are underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company in Australia and Tower in New Zealand.

We believe in using business as a force for good, and are a certified B Corporation. For more information visit beopen.com.

Banking Transformation Case Studies (Ultimate Guide by Backbase)

Inside the eBook

10 case studies. 7 chapters.

Leading banks from around the world with actionable lessons on their transformation journey.

This ebook includes everything we’ve learned about banking transformation with 150+ banks around the
world, broken down into brief chapters to guide you on your own journey:

  • Chapter 1 — Launch a digital bank from scratch
  • Chapter 2 — Modernizing banks for a digital generation
  • Chapter 3 — Small vs big: compete with giant & new players
  • Chapter 4 — How to acquire new banking customers, FAST
  • Chapter 5 — Retail banking: 5 star experiences & ratings
  • Chapter 6 — Digitization of business banking
  • Chapter 7 — The VIP treatment in private banking

Download eBook

Boost your tech business’s cash flow with government incentives

How can you boost your tech business’s cash flow with government incentives?

When you launch a startup, it’s natural to think being cash strapped comes with a territory. After all, you’ve likely seen plenty of movies and heard stories about the endless struggles of entrepreneurs who endure years of hard work before making a single penny.

However, our experience in the real world proves this doesn’t always need to be the case.

Although it’s reasonable to expect long hours as you invest all your time and energy into getting your venture off the ground, there are smart steps you can take totech business’s cash flow with R&D grants minimise the time it takes to reach a cash flow positive state.

And while you may be consumed by the technical activities of your business (where your passion lies), partnering with an advisor who can help you identify and take these smart steps can make all the difference.

One way an advisor may do this is by leveraging all available tax incentives and grants. Some of these are particularly valuable to technology companies and can provide a much needed cash injection into your business.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Financial wellness apps are the new digital battleground between traditional banks and neobanks

New data revealed in a Backbase commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting shows that Australia’s banking sector is moving to fully embrace digital financial wellness tools as a way of gaining and keeping customers, ensuring banks remain ingrained in the day-to-day financial decisions of consumers.

Once only the realm of smaller neobanks such as Wisr, WeMoney, and Frollo, the banking sector as a whole is now seeing the demand for digital financial wellness tools move to mainstream, making these initiatives a core part of their digital offering.

Talking about the study’s findings, Sydney-based Iman Ghodosi, Regional Vice President for Backbase in Asia Pacific, said Australian banks are learning from their mistakes and slow reaction to the ‘buy now, pay later’ boom: “Traditional banks got caught on the back foot with the recent rise in BNPL. It looks like they don’t want to repeat that mistake with neobanks and their mobile-first personal financial management tools that are already adding value to the lives of many Australians.”

“Digital money management and financial wellness is no longer a gimmick and we’re not far from this being the primary interface between banks and their customers across the sector. Legacy institutions are now striving to build consumer trust, and assist with services such as spending analysis, budgeting, creating saving goals, and improving credit scores through these tools. All the while benefiting from the deep well of customer data and insights that they can offer.”

Of the ANZ retail-banking business decision-makers interviewed as part of the report, 92% said their financial institution was ‘planning to’, or ‘actively expanding’ its financial wellness and money management tools, while 60% said it was of ‘critical priority’.

The fintech wolves are at the door 

“The urgency, focus and action are as a result of the next wave of neobanks, fintechs and disruptors waiting to take market share,” adds Mr Ghodosi, who sees the next six months as an inflection point in the space. “Digital technologies can provide an aggregated view, along with alerts and insights across multiple accounts, and the likes of Frollo, Humaniti, Wisr, and myprosperity are all gaining traction and market share amongst Australians.”

“In the platform era of Netflix and Spotify, people want the same high level of customer focus and flexibility for financial services they subscribe to. They want access to their personal finances, anytime, anywhere, through any channel, and tools on how to manage it; traditional banks are getting left behind and they know it.”

“Now more than ever, it is important to own the relationship with your customer. We’ve now entered the Engagement Banking Era, an evolution that stresses a one unified platform approach for banking. The number one priority in this new era is to completely re-architect the bank around the customer, moving away from siloed technology investments.. At Backbase, we help banks to adopt and build modern, cloud-native banking platforms to keep pace with changing consumer demands, gain a 360 degree view into banking behaviours, and grow market share across all lines of business. We focus on customers before products, and create digital money management tools that match individual needs.”

Unfortunately for Australia’s banks, the key challenges that stand in their way include a ‘lack understanding of their customer needs and outcomes’, a ‘lack of a digital-focused culture’ within the organisation, ‘outdated technology’, and limiting ‘organisational silos’. “One can see how fintech and neobanks have a head start”, Mr Ghodosi added. “There is also a lack of understanding within legacy institutions on who owns the budget for these types of initiatives; is it considered customer experience? Is it corporate strategy? Or is it marketing? When in fact it is all three and more.”

More to it than just a customer retention strategy

One of the most interesting findings in the data reveals that through digital financial wellness initiatives, banks can offer more care and protection to their customers than they have had the opportunity to do before. This pays dividends for the dwindling trust customers have for banks, and equally benefits both them and the institution. For example, 72% of retail banking business decision-makers interviewed mentioned that ‘preventing exploitation of vulnerable and older customers’ was a priority, and 60% said ‘providing secure shared financial management solutions for vulnerable customers, powers of attorney, and caregivers’ was a focus. 54% said ‘proactively helping customers with mental health issues or financial distress’ was in their plans and 74% are ‘using financial wellness to encourage customers to build better financial habits’. Something that may be seen as favourable when it comes to Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance reporting.

Other more specific tools were also mentioned such as ‘improving customer’s credit scores’ (80%), ‘providing personalised recommendations for financial products’ (74%), and ‘advanced pay and income smoothing’ with 64% of decision-makers mentioning it was something their company was planning.

 “CommBank, ANZ, and others are making headway in this space and have the technological capabilities to close the lead on the dynamic and nimble neobanks. As technology continues to redefine financial services, consumer expectations and demand fuel the sense of urgency for financial service providers in Australia to capitalise on the financial wellness opportunity.”

“As a market leader in engagement banking platforms enabling the disruptors of the banking industry and incumbents alike, Backbase is primed to address this real need. Our engagement banking platform is helping banks to launch modern, cloud-native banking services that keep pace with all these changes. To maintain customer loyalty, banks must adapt their strategies and acknowledge that the consumer journey is no longer linear; they must evolve their approach to a unified platform one, allowing them to properly address customer’s needs.”

 -End-

About Backbase:

Backbase is on a mission to transform the broken banking system, so financial institutions don’t just interact—they engage—with the people they serve.

That’s made possible with the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform—powering all lines of business on a single platform, including Retail, SME & Corporate and Wealth Management. From digital sales to everyday banking, the platform’s entire design focuses on a seamless and captivating experience for both customers and employees.

Industry analysts Ovum and Celent continuously recognize Backbase’s front-runner position, and over 120 large financials around the world are powered by the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform—including AIB, Barclays, Banamex, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BNP Paribas, Bremer Bank, Citibank, Citizens Bank, CheBanca!, Discovery Bank, Greater Bank, HDFC, IDFC First, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, Metrobank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PostFinance, RBC, Société Générale, TPBank, Vantage Bank Texas, Westpac and Wildfire Credit Union.

www.backbase.com

 Press Contact:

Dan Stewart
Brightus
T: +61 450 008 034
E: dan@brightus.com.au

Upcoming Events
  1. Money 20/20 Europe

    September 21 - September 23
  2. Fintech Australia / AWS Fintech Megatrends Webinar

    September 30 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  3. Finnies 2021

    October 13
Videos

Ep 2: Fintechs Acceleration of Growth Since COVID

Ep 1: The Evolution of Payments

Scaling Product Globally

Podcasts

Lee Hatton – Afterpay: FinTech Australia Podcast

Anthony Jones – Visa AUS/NZ

Tim Cameron – TransferWise