New CreditorWatch research: fintechs driving change in financial services

Sydney, 29 September 2021 – Leading commercial credit reporting agency CreditorWatch is today launching its Future of Fintech 2021 thought leadership paper, which is a comprehensive overview of the state-of-play across Australia’s vibrant fintech sector.

This year has been a watershed for the local fintech sector, with a number of pivotal transactions, including US digital payments leader Square’s $39 billion acquisition of buy-now-pay later pioneers Afterpay and, more recently, global fintech platform, Airwallex’s highly successful $275 million Series E capital raising, which valued the business at more than $5 billion.

“These are just two of a slew of deals that have been completed in the local fintech sector this year, which has been buoyed by the strong uptake of digital technologies as a result of COVID lockdowns, among other trends,” said CreditorWatch CEO Patrick Coghlan.

“The local fintech sector has never been hotter, and our Future of Fintech 2021 thought leadership paper outlines exactly why this is. The paper is part of our commitment to bring new thinking to the market through thought leadership,” he said.

This research explores how fintechs are defining the future for financial services, examining new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, new business models and new regulatory and market structures, such as open banking.

The paper was developed following an extensive research process, as well as exclusive interviews with leading members of Australia’s fintech sector, including global payments platform Adyen, global payments leader Airwallex, business loan disrupter Prospa and industry body FinTech Australia.

The report’s highlights include: 

  • Consumer confidence in digital technologies is supporting demand for fintech products and services.
  • Cross-border partnerships such as Westpac’s tie up with fintech 10x will become more commonplace in the future, improving consumer choice for banking products and services.
  • Consolidation is a key trend. Fintechs are banding together to create multifaceted solutions for consumers and businesses.
  • Big banks see fintechs as partners that can help them tap into a new wave of consumer demand.
  • Australian Payments Plus, a merger of the National Payments Platform, BPAY and EFTPOS, will support faster payments and new payment mechanisms, such as an industry standard for making payments with QR codes.
  • Open banking is at a critical juncture. Draft rules for intermediaries have recently been published, supporting a similar model to the UK’s, through which affiliates are sponsored into the system.

The challenge for fintechs is to work out how to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive market, while navigating new regulations and an ever-changing global marketplace.

— 

Media Contacts:
Hayley Schubert
Sling & Stone
hayleyschubert@slingstone.com
0431 651 418

Mitchy Koper
GM Communications and Marketing, CreditorWatch
mitchy.koper@creditorwatch.com.au
0417 771 778

About CreditorWatch

CreditorWatch is a leading commercial credit reporting agency, headquartered in Sydney. From sole traders through to ASX listed companies, more than 50,000 Australian businesses now use CreditorWatch to make affordable, informed credit decisions, avoid high-risk customers and ensure they get paid on time. CreditorWatch customers can easily search for and monitor the credit history, court actions, payment defaults and insolvency notices associated with any business entity in Australia (including sole traders, trusts and partnerships) giving them an incredibly accurate picture of the risk posed to their business.

The company was founded in 2011 and has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Find out more at www.creditorwatch.com.au.

Openpay: Exporting Australian payments fintech to the UK & US

Openpay is an Australian fintech offering ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) and business-to-business (B2B) payments services. The company began operating in Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2019. It has now launched in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

In this case study, Openpay’s Group Chief Marketing Officer, Georgina Whalley takes us through the company’s export journey and future plans, including:

  1. the evolution of ‘buy now, pay later’ services in Australia
  2. how Austrade has helped Openpay’s global expansion
  3. the role of the UK-Australia FinTech Hub.

Fertile ground for fintech innovation

According to Whalley, the current model for BNPL financing was pioneered in Australia. Melbourne-based investment company, Meydan Group combined technology and digital banking to create a new payments service in 2013. The business spin-off eventually became Openpay.

‘Australians are tech-savvy consumers who are open to modern ways of conducting traditional transactions,’ says Whalley. ‘This makes Australia fertile ground for fintech companies like Openpay.’

Differentiation is key to success in the BNPL market

Demand for BNPL is surging – especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To succeed, Openpay focuses on niche industries to deliver growth.

‘Openpay has a strongly differentiated BNPL offering, which we call ‘buy now, pay smarter (BNPS),’ says Whalley. ‘We cater to demand in specific segments such as healthcare, education and home improvement.

‘Our idea is to enable access to major life purchases while minimising the financial risks for our customers’.

Austrade supports high growth-potential businesses

Openpay was selected by Austrade to participate in a program for high growth tech exporters in late 2020.

‘The Austrade program was a key milestone in our journey,’ says Whalley. ‘Access to Austrade’s network gave us a foothold within the larger fintech ecosystem.’

‘Austrade is a great partner for Australian businesses which are innovative and offer a ground-breaking proposition,’ she adds. ‘Program support from the Australian Government is a vote of confidence in high growth-potential startups.’

Austrade opens doors for overseas expansion

Openpay has participated in a number of events organised by Austrade since 2019. These events helped to open doors in overseas markets.

One event was part of the ‘UK-Australia FinTech Bridge’ collaboration. This took place in London earlier in early 2021. It focussed on the role of fintechs in the post-COVID-19 recovery. It helped Openpay understand changing regulation in the UK finance market.

‘Local regulations go a long way in informing our offerings and go-to-market strategies,’ says Whalley.

‘Setting up operations in an overseas market can be an uphill task for start-ups, particularly in mature and greenfield markets,’ she adds ‘We’re glad to have Austrade as a trusted and reliable ally because every new market we enter is a huge leap forward for us.’

About Austrade

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency.

We deliver quality trade and investment services to businesses to grow Australia’s prosperity. We do this by generating and providing market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.

To discover how we can help you and your business, visit austrade.gov.au or contact us on 13 28 78 (within Australia).

Airwallex raises $200M at a $4B valuation to double down on business banking

Business, now more than ever before, is going digital, and today a startup that’s building a vertically integrated solution to meet business banking needs is announcing a big round of funding to tap into the opportunity. Airwallex — which provides business banking services directly to businesses themselves as well as via a set of APIs that power other companies’ fintech products — has raised $200 million, a Series E round of funding that values the Australian startup at $4 billion.

Lone Pine Capital is leading the round, with new backers G Squared and Vetamer Capital Management, and previous backers 1835i Ventures (formerly ANZi), DST Global, Salesforce Ventures and Sequoia Capital China also participating.

The funding brings the total raised by Airwallex — which has head offices in Hong Kong and Melbourne, Australia — to $700 million, including a $100 million injection that closed out its Series D just six months ago.

Airwallex will be using the funding both to continue investing in its product and technology as well as to continue its geographical expansion and to focus on some larger business targets. The company has started to make some headway into Europe and the U.K. and that will be one big focus, along with the U.S.

The quick succession of funding and rising valuation underscore Airwallex’s traction to date around what CEO and co-founder Jack Zhang describes as a vertically integrated strategy.

That involves two parts. First, Airwallex has built all the infrastructure for the business banking services that it provides directly to businesses with a focus on small and medium enterprise customers. Second, it has packaged up that infrastructure into a set of APIs that a variety of other companies use to provide financial services directly to their customers without needing to build those services themselves — the so-called “embedded finance” approach.

“We want to own the whole ecosystem,” Zhang said to me. “We want to be like the Apple of business finance.”

That seems to be working out so far for Airwallex. Revenues were up almost 150% for the first half of 2021 compared to a year before, with the company processing more than US$20 billion for a global client portfolio that has quadrupled in size. In addition to tens of thousands of SMEs, it also, via APIs, powers financial services for other companies like GOAT, Papaya Global and Stake.

Airwallex got its start like many of the strongest startups do: It was built to solve a problem that the founders encountered themselves. In the case of Airwallex, Zhang tells me he had actually been working on a previous startup idea. He wanted to build the “Blue Bottle Coffee” of Asia Pacific out of Australia, and it involved buying and importing a lot of different materials, packaging and, of course, coffee from all around the world.

“We found that making payments as a small business was slow and expensive,” he said, since it involved banks in different countries and different banking systems, manual efforts to transfer money between them and many days to clear the payments. “But that was also my background — payments and trading — and so I decided that it was a much more fascinating problem for me to work on and resolve.”

Eventually one of his co-founders in the coffee effort came along, with the four co-founders of Airwallex ultimately including Zhang, along with Xijing Dai, Lucy Liu and Max Li.

It was 2014, and Airwallex got attention from VCs early on in part for being in the right place at the right time. A wave of startups building financial services for SMBs were definitely gaining ground in North America and Europe, filling a long-neglected hole in the technology universe, but there was almost nothing of the sort in the Asia Pacific region, and in those earlier days solutions were highly regionalized.

From there it was a no-brainer that starting with cross-border payments, the first thing Airwallex tackled, would soon grow into a wider suite of banking services involving payments and other cross-border banking services.

“In the last six years, we’ve built more than 50 bank integrations and now offer payments across 95 countries, payments through a partner network,” he added, with 43 of those offering real-time transactions. From that, it moved on to bank accounts and “other primitive stuff” with card issuance and more, he said, eventually building an end-to-end payment stack.

Airwallex has tens of thousands of customers using its financial services directly, and they make up about 40% of its revenues today. The rest is the interesting turn the company decided to take to expand its business.

Airwallex had built all of its technology from the ground up itself, and it found that — given the wave of new companies looking for more ways to engage customers and become their one-stop shop — there was an opportunity to package that tech up in a set of APIs and sell that on to a different set of customers, those who also provided services for small businesses. That part of the business now accounts for 60% of Airwallex’s business, Zhang said, and is growing faster in terms of revenues. (The SMB business is growing faster in terms of customers, he said.)

A lot of embedded finance startups that base their business around building tech to power other businesses tend to stay at arm’s length from offering financial services directly to consumers. The explanation I have heard is that they do not wish to compete against their customers. Zhang said that Airwallex takes a different approach, by being selective about the customers they partner with, so that the financial services they offer would not be in direct competition with those of its customers. The GOAT marketplace for sneakers, or Papaya Global’s HR platform are classic examples of this.

However, as Airwallex continues to grow, you can’t help but wonder whether one of those partners might like to gobble up all of Airwallex and take on some of that service provision role itself. In that context, it’s very interesting to see Salesforce Ventures returning to invest even more in the company in this round, given how widely the company has expanded from its early roots in software for salespeople into a massive platform providing a huge range of cloud services to help people run their businesses.

For now, it’s been the combination of its unique roots in Asia Pacific, plus its vertical approach of building its tech from the ground up, plus its retail acumen that has impressed investors and may well see Airwallex stay independent and grow for some time to come.

“Airwallex has a clear competitive advantage in the digital payments market,” said David Craver, MD at Lone Pine Capital, in a statement. “Its unique Asia-Pacific roots, coupled with its innovative infrastructure, products and services, speak volumes about the business’ global growth opportunities and its impressive expansion in the competitive payment providers space. We are excited to invest in Airwallex at this dynamic time, and look forward to helping drive the company’s expansion and success worldwide.”

Cape and Basiq join forces to speed up SME access to credit and spend management tools through Open Banking

Cape joins as a flagship partner of Basiq’s newly-released Startup Launchpad program

Sydney, 15th of September, 2021: Cape, the spend management platform issuing corporate cards, and CDR accredited Open Banking platform Basiq have today announced a new partnership to accelerate SME access to credit and tools to help them save time and money. 

Cape has joined as an exclusive flagship partner of Basiq’s newly-released Startup Launchpad. The program supports fintech innovators on their journey to scale, by helping qualifying early-stage startups access real-time financial data and access to Basiq’s suite of products for free. 

Integrating Basiq’s Open Banking technology into the Cape application and risk analysis process will allow prospective SME borrowers to seamlessly connect their business current

account to instantly verify their identity, account and income information with Cape. They plan to eliminate the need for customers to manually enter any details or send additional documentation to Cape, saving time and improving the customer experience. 

The partnership will also allow Cape’s customers to benefit from Basiq’s Open Banking technology by increasing the accuracy of the underwriting process by using real-time financial data. 

Damir Ćuća, Founder & CEO, Basiq, commented: 

“We’re proud to announce Cape as our flagship partner on the Startup Launchpad and look forward to seeing their journey. 

Basiq’s ability to verify account and transaction data in real-time will streamline the onboarding process for Cape’s business customers, as we work together to re-design business spending. 

This will set the standard for how all alternative finance lenders and banks can enhance the customer experience by utilising Open Banking technology to convert analogue processes to seamless digital journeys.” 

Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, Founder & CEO, Cape, commented

“We start as we mean to go on, our partnership with Basiq will help make it easier and faster for future customers to apply for our Cape products digitally. 

Open Banking technology offers a way to radically speed up the digital application process by offering instant decisions and personalised products. It also reduces the administrative burden on businesses when applying for credit or a change of terms. 

When looking for an Open Banking partner, Basiq was a clear favourite given they are the leading Australian open banking platform and a strong supporter of startups.” 

————— 

About Cape 

Cape is building APAC’s first spend management platform that issues virtual corporate cards designed to help companies strengthen their cash flow. Cape provides businesses with full visibility and control on purchasing to cut wasteful spending and the time taken on financial administration work relating to expense management. 

Cape will be launching its business credit card in the coming months. Founders, CFO’s & Accountants interested in learning more should download the Cape waitlist App from the Apple App Store & Android Playstore. 

www.hellocape.com 

About Basiq

Basiq is a CDR-accredited Open Banking platform that provides the building blocks of financial services. Our APIs enable secure access to customer financial data and tools to uncover valuable insights. Backed by AP Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Reinventure, NAB Ventures and Plaid, over 200 fintechs and banks rely on our platform to deliver innovative financial solutions across lending, payments, wealth, digital banking and more. 

https://basiq.io 

Media contact
Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, ryan@hellocape.com, +61 (0)406 252 332

Regtech startup LAB Group expands into global markets

LAB Group is an Australian regtech (regulation technology) startup that provides compliance services to the financial services industry.

The company has adopted a global expansion strategy in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It set up its first European office in 2020 and has doubled its workforce in the first six months of 2021.

In this case study, Nick Boudrie, CEO, LAB Group explains how the company has evolved, including:

  • how his company navigates the regulatory environment
  • the challenges and opportunities in regtech
  • the role Austrade played in the company’s expansion strategy.

Australia is a growing hub for regtech expertise

Regulatory compliance is a critical aspect of risk management in the finance industry. It is also highly complex. For example, disclosure and privacy rules pull banks in opposite directions.

‘Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) legislation require disclosures and audit trails,’ says Boudrie. ‘Meanwhile data privacy laws mean that finance companies must adhere to strict information-security rules.’

LAB Group helps finance companies to navigate this difficult path. The company’s cloud-based services helps clients to manage customer enrolments so the process complies with finance regulations. This includes the use of biometric verification.

The challenges of creating regtech exports

According to Boudrie, creating an exportable regtech product is a constant challenge.

‘The regtech domain is unique,’ says Boudrie. ‘On the one hand it requires global consistencies and compatibility. On the other hand, regtech has to adhere to local laws and practices.

‘We have created standardised workflows and configurations for these jurisdictions, as well as industry verticals to minimise customisation requirements and speed up implementations. We also support them through the technology adoption process as their use of the platform expands, and as it evolves with ongoing regulatory and technological changes.’

Role of Austrade in overseas expansion

Austrade has worked with LAB Group to help them grow in overseas markets. For example, Austrade invited LAB Group to join the Australian FinTech Mission at key trade events.

Two of these events were ‘Money 20/20’ in Singapore in 2019 and the Paris FinTech Forum 2020. These events provided opportunities to network and make introductions. This enabled executives to meet potential partners and local regulators.

Boudrie says that participation in trade missions has helped his company grasp the subtleties of the regtech landscape in different markets. Attendance also helped LAB Group make key decisions about product roadmaps and market entry in different jurisdictions.

‘Austrade helped us to set up some of our global operations, and to structure them’, he says. ‘They also helped with product promotion and distribution.’

Made in Australia, for the world

LAB Group now has an impressive client list across the region. This includes customers in New Zealand and Japan. The company raised $4 million from Costa Asset Management in March 2021. It will use the capital to expand into new markets in Europe and Asia.

‘Regtech is well established in Australia, but we lag behind other countries when it comes to raising funds,’ says Boudrie. ‘A part of that is due to the lack of exposure and experience. To that extent, Austrade has been a valuable partner.’

‘Our Australian experience has helped us develop a robust suite of solutions,’ he adds. ‘To expand, however, we need to understand specific markets. With new capital, we look forward to consolidating our offerings and expanding our global footprint.’

About Austrade

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency.

We deliver quality trade and investment services to businesses to grow Australia’s prosperity. We do this by generating and providing market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.

To discover how we can help you and your business, visit austrade.gov.au or contact us on 13 28 78 (within Australia).

About FinTech Australia

FinTech Australia is a member-driven organisation that is building an ecosystem of Australian fintechs to advance the global economy and culture. We are here to build a strong community, foster connections while supporting innovation and regulation that our members require. Above all else, we are here to be the voice of the Australian fintech community

Finder and Envestnet | Yodlee Extend Partnership to Fuel the Continued Growth of Finder App

Finder app has over 250,000 users and is powered by Envestnet | Yodlee’s Data Aggregation Platform 

Finder app recently launched its crypto wallet and continues to grow and innovate  

The growth of the app comes as Finder expands globally, most recently opening its Denver office 

 

Envestnet | Yodlee, a leading data aggregation and analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services, has today announced its contract renewal with Finder, Australia’s most visited comparison platform, as it expands overseas and continues its mission to drive financial wellness among Australians.  

The partnership began two years ago as Finder set out to launch its free Finder app, featuring tools that allow Aussies to manage their money effectively, track their credit score, and more. Envestnet | Yodlee’s user-permissioned, data aggregation platform is used by Finder to link users’ bank accounts to the app and categorise data – which is critical to giving users the insights they need on their financial standing.  

The app also uses Envestnet | Yodlee’s data intelligence to enable its users to automatically compare their financial products with Finder’s extensive database. According to Finder’s Loyalty Tax Report, an estimated eight million Australians stay loyal to their financial providers by not switching regularly – a habit which costs a combined $67.8 billion a year. Finder, however, estimates that Australians could save up to $8,496 each year across four common financial products – home loans, savings account, health insurance and credit cards – if they simply switch providers to a better deal. The free app analyses members’ financial products and their spending and notifies them of potential savings across a range of financial products including the aforementioned four, as well as car insurance, broadband, mobile phone, energy, and more.  

Since the launch of the Finder app in March 2020, it has garnered over 250,000 users – and is fast becoming one of Australia’s leading money apps. Built on solid foundations and powered by Envestnet | Yodlee, Finder has been able to innovate and add additional tools to the platform, including crypto trading, which allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum within the app.  

“We built the Finder app to further our company’s mission of helping Australians make better financial decisions and improve their lives,” said Fred Schebesta, Founder of Finder. “Envestnet | Yodlee’s technology was critical to launching the Finder app by allowing members to have more visibility over their financial data and benefit from tools and personalised insights.” 

The growth of the Finder app has come in tandem with the rapid expansion of Finder’s wider organisation, both locally and internationally. It recently launched its office in Denver, announcing plans to hire 200 staff – adding to its existing workforce of 80-plus team members in North America. Finder has more than 400 staff globally and its platform for comparing banks, insurance and telcos is now live in more than 80 countries, with 10 million consumers using its services every month. 

As Finder sets its sights on being the top comparison website globally, with plans to aggressively expand into Southeast Asia; Envestnet | Yodlee’s technology has been earmarked as having the capabilities to support the company’s continued expansion. 

“Envestnet | Yodlee is proud to continue its partnership with Finder, a true Australian FinTech with a mission to help Aussies and people around the world be better off financially,” said Timothy Poskitt, Country Manager at Envestnet | Yodlee.  

“Envestnet | Yodlee has been present in Australia for over a decade and has a truly global footprint – working with some of the largest banks and finance companies in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and more. Our empowerment of the Finder app is a brilliant example of how our technology quietly sits in the background and allows finance companies to build incredible products, which are not only innovative – but serve consumers in the best way possible. I am excited about the partnership’s future and seeing Finder continue to flourish.”  

 

About Envestnet 

Envestnet refers to the family of operating subsidiaries of the public holding company, Envestnet, Inc.  Envestnet is transforming the way financial advice and wellness are delivered. Our mission is to empower advisors and financial service providers with innovative technology, solutions and intelligence to make financial wellness a reality for everyone. Nearly 108,000 advisors and more than 6,000 companies including: 17 of the 20 largest U.S. banks, 46 of the 50 largest wealth management and brokerage firms, over 500 of the largest RIAs and hundreds of FinTech companies, leverage Envestnet technology and services that help drive better outcomes for enterprises, advisors and their clients. 

For more information on Envestnet | Yodlee, please visit www.yodlee.com, subscribe to our blog, and follow us on Twitter (@Yodlee) and LinkedIn. 

FeeSynergy and Equifax have partnered to help revolutionise the way accounting and legal firms assess client credit risk and better manage client relationships.

Leading debtor management software fintech, FeeSynergy, and global data, analytics and technology company, Equifax, have partnered to help accountants and legal firms to better assess client risk, providing greater visibility of a client’s credit risk and ability to pay.

With economic uncertainty and many businesses feeling the pinch from Covid lockdowns, having insight to the credit standing of customers is essential to help reduce time spent chasing bad debtors and ensure cash-flow to enable business growth.

As the number one provider of debtor management software, payment gateways and fee finance solutions to accounting and legal firms in Australia and New Zealand, the FeeSynergy Collect platform is used by hundreds of leading firms to manage their entire debtor management process, from engagement right through to payment.

The partnership with Equifax will enable accounting and legal firms to access an Equifax business credit score and credit report as part of their risk assessment process. It will also offer FeeSynergy clients the ability to identify business advisory opportunities within their client base.

FeeSynergy’s Managing Director, Malcolm Ebb, says “Our partnership with Equifax is ground- breaking. The product we are bringing to market has been over two years in the making and will provide our accounting and legal clients with valuable insights enabling them to better manage risk and enhance client engagement.”

“In the current economic climate, managing the credit risk of customers and suppliers is crucial. Understanding a client’s risk and ability to pay can help better protect cash-flows. Our partnership with FeeSynergy enables the accounting and legal sector to access a more complete picture of prospective and existing clients so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to credit risk and client engagement.” Scott Mason, General Manager Commercial and Property Solutions at Equifax adds.

For more information contact hello@feesynergy.com.au

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.

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.

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Videos

Ep 2: Fintechs Acceleration of Growth Since COVID

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Scaling Product Globally

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Lee Hatton – Afterpay: FinTech Australia Podcast

Anthony Jones – Visa AUS/NZ

Tim Cameron – TransferWise