KPMG is looking to give Australian mutuals and credit unions a leg up on the fintech innovation ladder with the establishment of a startup accelerator to showcase the creative and commercial potential of collaboration with emerging technology firms.
KPMG mLabs is modelled on the firm's Energise accelerator run for the energy and natural resources sector last year. The two-way programme is designed to give mutual banks and credit unions the opportunity to work alongside leading fintech innovators and provide startup participants with the opportunity to engage with a number of like-minded mutuals in one programme.
The programme will be initially utilised by seven Australian mutual banks and credit unions who together represent a combined customer base of more than two million: Beyond Bank, CUA, Greater Bank, Heritage, IMB Bank, Police Bank, and Teachers Mutual Bank.
James Mabbott, Head of KPMG Innovate, likens the scheme to a hybrid of a startup accelerator and commercial innovation programme.
“The KPMG Mutuals Review 2015 noted that mutuals are well placed to implement new technologies and ideas and to collaborate with fintech startups," he says. "KPMG mLabs is designed to catalyse this process. It will be a platform for collaboration and a safe space for experimentation - and help bring some exciting new services to life for mutual banks and credit unions and their customers.”
Over the course of the accelerator, the seven mutuals will work closely with 14 fintech startups to identify business challenges, test assumptions and and prototype new products and services.
Ian Pollari, KPMG’s global co-lead for fintech says: "KPMG mLabs will drive commercial outcomes for all participants, whether that be designing and launching new digital products and services, enhancing the customer experience or improving internal efficiency.”
Participants will follow a 12-week structured program providing access to expertise from KPMG mentors and industry advisors such as Chris Whitehead who has helped to tailor the programme for the mutual sector, as well as Leona Murphy, previously head of strategy for IAG, and Andrew Davis formerly global fintech lead for HSBC.
The accelerator will be hosted in Sydney at KPMG’s new Barangaroo office and at fintech hub Stone & Chalk. It kicks off on 12 July 2016 and culminates in a demo-day, where the curated participants will pitch their ideas and progress to investors and finance sector leaders.