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Australian fintech startups look to London

11 September 2015  |  11733 views  |  1 Autrialian flag

Ten of Australia’s most promising fintech startups were welcomed to the UK at the Australian High Commission last night. Hosted by UKTI and The Australian Trade Commission, the event gave the opportunity for UK-based companies to meet and share experiences with their peers from down under.

Whilst in London the ten Australian companies will also have the opportunity to pitch at London Fintech Week and tour Canary Wharf incubator Level39.

The delegation was welecomed to London by Passion Capital's Eileen Burbidge, special envoy for fintech to David Cameron. Speaking exclusively to Finextra, she says: “Companies established in Sydney or London are very likely to court, attract and service users from all over the world -- and certainly those two respective metropolitan centres. It's in the best interest of any company to have established partnerships and distribution to service all of its potential markets.”

Australia's second incubator Stone and Chalk was opened earlier this year to create a fintech hub in Sydney. However, it comes at a time when concern has been raised that the country could be losing its fintech startups to other countries with more attractive offers of support and lower corporation tax rates. Australian high-tech hotshot Atlassian moved its headquarters to London last year and this visit by the cream of Australia's startup community resulted from a UK government-run competition.

London is keen to attract more tech talent to its shores in support of the burgeoning fintech ecosystem. Says Burbidge: "Ideally this talent is cultivated here in the UK but as that pipeline develops, we would benefit from free movement of highly skilled talent and the ability to attract people to come and work in the UK."

Nick McInnes, director general for UK Trade and Investment in Australia and New Zealand, says the invitees can learn from the thriving fintech industry in London and seek out opportunities for collaboration and expansion. "Equally, we want to showcase the Australian fintech offering - it is a rapidly changing environment in Australia and now is the right time for British companies to look to do business here," he adds.

Australia’s Macquarie Bank estimates that over £13 billion of current Australian banking revenue is at risk to fintech disruption, and UK Trade and Investment has already assisted a number of British fintech companies to expand in Australia.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 28 October, 2015, 09:34

While countries like Singapore - neighbours in the region - have been more obvious hotspots for Aussie tech companies in recent years, offering a range of incentives, it’s interesting to hear that more Australian fintech companies are looking to set up in the UK - and that London is keen to attract them.  At Encompass, we actually expanded earlier this year from our headquarters in Sydney Australia to set up a UK base in Glasgow. 

So far Glasgow has been an ideal place for a fintech business like ours, from outside the UK to get established. It’s committed to becoming a tech hub and a smart city and it recently received a £24 million Future Cities grant to help it accomplish that. Added to that, Scotland has a great talent pool of well-educated and often technology-savvy workers, with an impressive ratio of graduates per capita. We’ve also been able to make our capital go a lot further by setting up in a lower cost centre than a major city like London.  While we still have a sales force in London, our customer care, R&D and marketing can all be run from Glasgow - which for an Australian - is just a short 4 hour trip up the road.

From our point of view the close parallels between the two markets in terms of, legislation and types of information our financial and professional service customer base access and analyse using our visual software also made the UK the best next-market for our expansion . It’s a competitive environment and our journey here is just beginning, but there are a wide range of support initiatives to help SMEs survive and thrive.

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