Kiwibank unveils round two of FinTech accelerator drive

Kiwibank unveils round two of FinTech accelerator drive

Inaugural FinTech accelerator resulted in several Kiwi FinTech start-ups gaining support, funding and expertise to build, launch and expand products in New Zealand and world markets

Kiwibank has unveiled plans to launch another set of FinTech start-ups onto the global stage with its second FinTech accelerator.

The inaugural FinTech accelerator resulted in several Kiwi FinTech start-ups gaining support, funding and expertise to build, launch and expand products in New Zealand and world markets.

Kiwibank CEO Paul Brock said the success of the first accelerator had encouraged Kiwibank and accelerator partners Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ to launch version two of the program.

“The first accelerator saw exciting new Kiwi companies such as Sharesies, Accounting Pod and Tapi successfully launched to market,” Brook said.

“With the second accelerator we’re looking to help even more startups capitalise on what is a $1 trillion global FinTech opportunity, and to further grow New Zealand’s FinTech ecosystem.”

The inaugural Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator resulted in Sharesies achieving $1 million in investments and 5000 users in eight weeks, with full funding gained four weeks before the program’s investment showcase Demo Day.

Furthermore, accounting Pod and Tapi (formerly Flatfish) achieved full funding and on track to crack $1 million annual revenue targets, with V2 of the accelerator set to take on an even stronger global focus.

“This time we want to have a strong international flavour and we’re targeting exciting overseas ventures interested in basing their FinTech operations here in New Zealand,” Brook added.

“There’s strong interest from start-ups in China, Korea and elsewhere to take part. It’s a win-win, given that New Zealand is perfectly placed to take a lead in FinTech globally by attracting the best and brightest overseas talent and capability to help us take our own FinTech ecosystem to the next level.”

According to Brook, about a quarter of the 12 start-ups to be selected for the accelerator could come from overseas.

“Quite apart from the ability for Kiwi start-ups to experience the thinking and technology being applied in FinTech overseas, the global networking potential alone will be invaluable,” he said.

Investment in Chinese FinTech was $9.2 billion in 2016 and it is home to the four most valuable FinTech companies in the world - Alibaba’s Ant Financial, Lufax, JD Finance and Qufenqi.

Meanwhile, there are more than 400 FinTech start-ups in South Korea with more than $120 million invested in FinTechs during the past 12 months, alongside global investments of $26.3 billion.

“We got a huge amount out of being in the accelerator – mentorship, a space to work, great corporate support,” Sharesies founder Sonya Williams said.

“But by far and away the biggest benefit was that the accelerator gave us the start date and support we needed take Sharesies from an idea and turn it into a successful business. The company is never going to get off the ground until this leap of faith is taken and we got that from the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator.”

The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will open for applications on October 2 and the 14 week program will begin in February 2018 and finish with a Demo Day in May 2018.

“Being able to run another FinTech accelerator with Kiwibank and Callaghan Innovation is an excellent step in the right direction to put Kiwi FinTech on the map globally and to establish Wellington as New Zealand’s hub for innovation in the finance sector,” Creative HQ CEO Stefan Korn added.

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