\ Sydney Fintech Hub Gets Real – Committee For Sydney

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Sydney Fintech Hub Gets Real

March 3, 2015

Australia’s vision for a physical fintech hub in Sydney to support start-ups grow and succeed is three steps closer today, with the announcement of its location, Chair and corporate partners. To be known as Stone and Chalk, the fintech hub is an independent, not-for-profit entity created to help foster and accelerate the development of world-class Australian fintech start-ups.

Following a hotly contested tender process, run by Pepper Property Advisory, DEXUS Property Group has been appointed as property partner. Sydney’s new fintech hub will be located on Level 26, 45 Clarence Street in the Sydney Central Business District. Initially, the hub will span 1,230 square metres of agile office space, with the potential to grow to 3,000 square metres.

When doors open in May, Stone and Chalk can accommodate up to 150 entrepreneurs through hot desks, fixed desks and offices plus ‘drop in’ spaces, as well as offer events space to host seminars, industry meetings and conferences. Corporates will also be able to rent space in order to co-create and innovate with start-ups and other partners.

Stone and Chalk provides a location for collaboration between start-ups, financial institutions, technology companies, leading academics and universities, government and regulators to occur. The objective of the space is to provide low cost services (such as subsidised working space), expertise and mentoring, as well as access to capital for start-ups. The hub will also offer a pipeline of opportunities for venture capital funds, financial institutions and investors.

“This will become the heart of fintech in Australia and hopefully Asia,” said Craig Dunn, the newly-appointed Chair of Stone and Chalk. “Digital disruption is transforming the financial services industry and there is much to be gained through greater collaboration between stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem. We are focused on bringing to life our vision for Sydney’s fintech hub to support start-ups compete, thrive and lead on a world stage.”

Craig was most recently a Panel Member for the Financial System Inquiry and prior to this Chief Executive Officer of AMP.  With more than 20 years of financial services experience, Craig is one of Australia’s leading industry figures and will bring his personal interest in digital innovation and industry relationships to the Chair role, supporting the local fintech start-up community.

Senior figures in the fintech community have strongly endorsed today’s announcement:

  • “We are thrilled and humbled with the enthusiastic collaboration of so many industry stakeholders to bring this vision to life.  We’re confident that this will put Australian fintech on the global map,” said Danny Gilligan, Co-founder of Reinventure.
  • “Australia is one of the best places in the world to launch a fintech venture. This is being proven by early entrants into the market such as SocietyOne, Metamako and Stockspot.  Our aim is to provide an ecosystem of advice and support that empowers the brightest up and coming financial services executives to leave their often comfortable nests and start a new generation of world leading financial services organisations.  Stone and Chalk will provide an important boost and a physical focus for the growing Sydney fintech ecosystem,” said Toby Heap, Managing Director AWI Ventures.
  • “At Pocketbook, we are extremely excited by the fintech hub announcement. We would really like to commend the commitment shown by the Government and major Australian financial institutions to collaborate and elevate innovation. As a start-up, we always strive for speed and validation. Stone and Chalk will absolutely deliver on this. Being surrounded and supported by the who’s who of the sector is a critical step to shortening that process of ideation and execution. We look forward to the tantalising opportunity of bringing innovation to Pocketbook which we today haven’t even thought of yet,” said Bosco Tan, Co-founder and COO of Pocketbook.
  • “The creation of the fintech hub is a huge milestone that demonstrates that the Government and the private sector are committed to working together to develop a thriving fintech community in Australia.  Innovation thrives in places where people can collaborate, develop ideas and execute quickly. Creating a dedicated space where this can occur is hugely important for the emerging fintech community,” said Matt Symons, Co-founder and CEO, SocietyOne.
  • “The move to create a fintech hub in Sydney is fantastic news for NSW and Australia. We have a massive opportunity to build a powerhouse fintech industry built on the sophistication of our financial markets and on our huge superannuation savings pool. The fintech hub concept is a great step forward in realising this potential,” said Jeremy Glaros, CEO of Coinarch.
  • “Sydney’s technology start-up scene is booming.  The financial services sector is a huge part of the economy ripe with opportunity for technology innovation.  The fintech hub is a great initiative to drive focus and collaboration in the sector.  I’m sure we’ll see some giant disrupters emerge as a result in years to come,” said Rebekah Campbell, Co-founder of Posse.

A key project of the Financial Services Knowledge Hub, launched today by NSW Premier Mike Baird, a fintech hub was one of the key recommendations of a milestone KPMG and Committee for Sydney report examining key success factors for fintech to flourish.  At the same time, the fintech community led by Reinventure, AWI and Kim Heras were galvanising the broader ecosystem around the concept.  These efforts came together in the form of a Working Group of senior stakeholders across industry, the start-up community, Committee for Sydney and NSW Trade & Investment who have been working closely together, with significant volunteering of time and effort to bring the recommendation of a fintech hub to life.

Foundation corporate partners were also announced today. Their financial and professional contributions of more than $2 million have made the launch of Stone and Chalk viable: Allens, Amazon, American Express, AMP, ANZ, Capital Markets CRC, CIFR, FINSIA, Finzsoft (NZ), HSBC, IAG, Intel, KPMG, Macquarie Group, Oracle, Suncorp Bank, Veda, Westpac and Woolworths.

NSW Government is providing support to ensure the successful establishment of Stone and Chalk which will in turn attract international fintech talent to Sydney, develop and support local industry, and increase financial services exports.

The Stone and Chalk fintech hub is consistent with recommendations in the landmark Financial Systems Inquiry report, released in December, calling for a permanent public-private sector collaboration committee to be established, comprising industry, government, regulatory, academia and consumers to facilitate financial system innovation and a more flexible regulatory framework.

The Financial Services Knowledge Hub, led by independent think tank Committee for Sydney, is one of five industry-led knowledge hubs being supported by NSW Trade & Investment.  It will help financial sector businesses and researchers improve collaboration and knowledge sharing.

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