Australian banks and tech companies are providing $2 million in funding to get the country's first physical fintech hub off the ground in Sydney.
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 Australian fintech start-ups.
The hub, located on Level 26, 45 Clarence Street in the Sydney Central Business District, will initially span 1,230 square metres of 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.
The initiation of the scheme follows the publication of a report in October by KPMG, which called on the Australian government to provide more support for the startup ecosystem in Sydney, contending the Australian financial capital has the potential to become an Asia/Pacific fintech hub, mirroring developments in London and New York.
The ambition for Stone and Chalk is to provide a physical location for collaboration between start-ups, financial institutions, technology companies, leading academics and universities, government and regulators. It will achieve this through a combination of 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,” says Craig Dunn, former chief executive officer of AMP and 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.”
Foundation corporate partners include: 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.
Tony Cripps, chief executive for HSBC in Australia, comments: “Through the fintech hub, HSBC is supporting Australian start-ups looking to expand globally. Our involvement will bring us into contact with an innovative group of companies that we can support, mentor and learn from."