National Australia Bank and Telstra have partnered to create a digital marketplace where small businesses can barter their services.
Small businesses using the Proquo platform will be able source a range of services from other providers, create briefs for the work they need, exchange quotes, manage payments and publish reviews.
Proquo was developed by NAB’s innovation hub, NAB Labs and Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab. While it is a 50/50 joint venture, it will operate as an independent entity.
NAB executive general manager micro and small business Leigh O’Neill says: “Strategic partnerships like this one with Telstra, to combine the capabilities of two of Australia’s biggest companies, creates a really innovative business option for the small business community."
The idea for Proquo emerged from innovation experiments that were being independently completed by NAB Labs and by Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab, says O'Neill. The two parties have been collaborating on the project since October last year.
The platform is being launched in a pilot phase this month, with a full rollout expected in July.
Telstra group managing director Telstra Business, Andy Ellis says: “Small businesses often struggle to get off the ground and our research shows that the exchanging of services will be a great advantage to many start-ups."
The launch comes just a day after NAB Innovation Labs released a new service that allows eligible customers to apply for up to $50,000 in unsecured funding via an online application process.