Commonwealth Bank of Australia Launches New Initiative to Promote FinTech
Image courtesy of Commonwealth Bank.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Launches New Initiative to Promote FinTech

Is Australia the next hotbed for FinTech innovation?

A new initiative by X15 Ventures, an investment vehicle supported by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, will see fintech firms pitch their products in a virtual session. The initiative will provide funding and support to successful companies.

X15 Ventures to Hold Pitch Session for Fintech Companies

A June 2 report outlines a new initiative by the Australian government to promote the development of fintech businesses. The program facilitates the creation of a sandbox that will now include insurance-related fintech firms. These measures are due to come into effect on September 1, 2020.

As a result of this, fintech companies, along with those that work with insurance technology, will be able to pilot their products and services for two years. During that time, they will not be required to hold a license from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This means that the products and services will be given a head-start in the market without regulatory constraints.

This initiative is being spearheaded by X15 Ventures, which is an investment vehicle supported by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It is highlighted that many fintech firms often struggle to find adequate funding to stay in business. This is what the session, dubbed Xccelerate 2020, aims to address.

The theme of the session will be improving the financial wellbeing of small businesses and will focus on the current economic climate. More specifically, it will seek out solutions that will help the recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The firms that showcase will be competing for funding, as well as mentoring and support moving forward.

This is the first year of the initiative, and 15 businesses will be shortlisted to present their products and services. The session will take place on July 23, 2020, and pitches will be presented to X15’s Innovation Investment Committee. Successful pitches will see their firms receive up to $150,000 in funding as well as support from various CBA partners on risk, payments, cyber, and so on.

According to X15 Ventures Managing Director, Toby Norton-Smith, the purpose of this initiative is to support small businesses within Australia. Furthermore, it is to help bring to life products and services that will help primarily small and retail business customers. The effects of COVID-19 were also touched on as a driving force for the development of the sandbox.

Australia Investing in FinTech Solutions

Fintech has seen much greater acceptance on an institutional level worldwide, and Australia is not exempt. On June 3, 2020, a 13-member steering committee for blockchain development in the country was announced. The purpose of the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee is to help Australia navigate the blockchain landscape and ensure the benefits of it for citizens.

This interest in blockchain within Australia also extends to its financial sector, as last year the Australian Securities Exchange signed a Memorandum of Understanding with regards to blockchain technology. As per the MoU, the exchange will be transitioning to blockchain technology by 2021. This is considered significant, especially as security tokens are seeing greater acceptance worldwide, and blockchain technology being used on such a large scale can aid its growth.

Do you think this initiative will ensure long-term fintech support? What else should be done? Let us know your thoughts below.

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