Australia to launch a fintech innovation hub

By Nicole Miskelly | 3 March 2015

Australia is to launch a fintech innovation hub in Sydney this May. The hub, which is the first in the country, is named Stone and Chalk and has gained $2 million in funding from Australian banks and technology companies to help accelerate the development of Australian fintech start-ups.

Chalk and Stone is an independent, not-for-profit entity which has come together after recommendations in a report from the KPMG and Committee for Sydney on financial tech in December.  Financial corporate partners include Amazon, American Express, HSBC, Intel, Oracle, Suncorp Bank and KPMG.

The hub aims to provide a physical location to foster and develop collaboration between start-ups, technology companies, financial institutions, universities, government and regulators. Chalk and Stone, which is located in Sydney central business district, can accommodate up to 150 entrepreneurs with hot desks, fixed desks, drop-in spaces and offices. Chalk and Stone also intends to allow corporates to rent space to work closer with start-ups.

“This will become the heart of fintech in Australia and hopefully Asia,” said Craig Dunn, newly appointed chair of Stone and Chalk. “Digital disruption is transforming the financial services industry and there is so much to be gained through greater collaboration between stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem.”

According to reports, it is estimated that there are over 100 companies in Sydney that can be classified as fintech start-ups including those in the areas of payments, data, capital markets and wealth management.

“The hub provides Australian start-ups with the opportunity to partner with established financial services companies and the chance to influence and penetrate the global financial services market,” said John Nesbitt, CEO, Suncorp Bank.

Reports suggest that the name Chalk and Stone reflects the nature of the financial services sector and those players seeking to disrupt it. Regulatory compliance, security, management and protection duties and establishing trust with consumers are set in stone and must be preserved by new business, however, there is still chalk which is able to imagine, invent and think creatively to develop technology that will enhance the customer experience. 

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