The Victoria state government is seeking applications for “experienced innovation hub operators” to establish a fintech hub in Melbourne.
The minister for small business, Philip Dalidakis, made the announcement at an event to launch Intersekt, a fintech festival to be held on 27 October, hosted by FinTech Australia and FinTech Victoria in conjunction with fintech company NextMoney and coworking community the York Butter Factory.
The new hub is proposed to be established at the Goods Shed North in Docklands, an area that has long been dormant and subject of lobbying from the startup community to turn it into an innovation precinct.
The co-founder of Melbourne coworking space York Butter Factory Darcy Naunton told The Australian newspaper that they first submitted a proposal for the Goods Shed in 2014, and that they hoped the government can get out of the way once the tender is complete and let ecosystem leaders run the fintech hub.
While existing coworking spaces and startup hubs in Australia, such as York Butter Factory, or Sydney's Stone & Chalk, which already has a fintech focus, might be interested in running the new hub, the minister hinted to InnovationAus.com that he would prefer an international player to help take local fintechs beyond Australian borders. He pointed to the likes of The Floor in Tel Aviv and 500 Startups’ FinTech hub in London as potential partners.
500 Startups is an early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator set up in California in 2010. It currently has operations in the UK and Europe, Canada, Mexico and throughout the Middle East and Asia. The Floor is an Israel-focused fintech hub based in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with backing from Chinese and European banks, and global consulting and IT firms. Neither currently has any significant direct presence in Australia.