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CBA offers $150,000 in seed funding to startups helping small businesses

CBA offers $150,000 in seed funding to startups helping small businesses

Commonwealth Bank of Australia's fintech investment vehicle, X15 Ventures, is to run a virtual pitch event for startups with technology capable of supporting small business owners, with the winning ideas to receive seed funding of up to $150,000.

Launched in Frebruary as a standalone startup incubator, X15 Ventures' mandate is to create and nurture up to 25 new digital businesses.

The bank has partnered with Microsoft and KPMG High growth ventures for the new venture, with funding provided from CBA’s $1 billion annual technology budget.

The first two venture to have emerged from the stable are a digital home-buying concierge dubbed Home-In, and Vonto, a free app available to all small business owners that draws data from Xero, Google Analytics, and Shopify among other to provide aggregated business insights.

The virtual pitch event - Xccelerate - comes as the bank scouts out possible applications to aid small businesses as they struggle to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

X15 Ventures managing director, Toby Norton-Smith (pictured), says: “Given the economic setback caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are inviting driven, experienced entrepreneurs looking to scale their business or a new business idea.”

The inaugural programme will see 15 shortlisted entrepreneurs and start-up teams develop, refine and then pitch their businesses to X15’s Innovation Investment Committee on 23 July 2020.

“X15 allows us to open the door and partner more easily with entrepreneurs to help them achieve rapid growth from seed right through to launch phase," says Norton-Smith. "While the businesses will be developed as a start-up, they will have the scale and reach of CBA behind them to achieve growth.

Applications for Xccelerate are open until Sunday, 7 June, with the 15 shortlisted entrants to be notified by 15 June.

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