Providing fintech startups a platform to accelerate their idea
As an emerging sector with a massive opportunity for kiwi companies, financial technology (fintech) is on track to transform New Zealand’s economy. The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator programme aims to create a foundation for fintech in New Zealand, by providing emerging fintech companies an opportunity to develop their ideas. The accelerator acts as a springboard or a launching pad to help small, high-tech businesses expand.
New Zealand has been recognized as the easiest place in the world to do business by The World Bank, and as Wellington is the headquarters of all the banks and financial institutions as well as regulatory authorities in New Zealand – it makes sense for the accelerator programme to be based in Wellington.
Wellington is also the home-base for Kiwibank, where they have strong relationships with their sponsors, sector experts and the Financial Markets Authority. These established relationships allow Kiwibank to share value with the teams involved in the programme.
Claiming a stake in the trillion dollar sector
Kiwibank has been looking at the growth of fintech globally, and saw that fintech companies have banded together in their home countries to support their nations stake in fintech. Kiwibank wants to mirror this and support Kiwi fintechs to go global and seize the $1 trillion fintech opportunity.
Ensuring that New Zealand wasn’t lagging behind in this sector, and knowing that CreativeHQ (who run the fintech accelerator) are the leaders in accelerators, led to the creation of the Kiwibank FinTech accelerator. The three month programme helps fintech startups develop and build a product for people to invest in.
Establishing meaningful relationships through partnership
As a foundation partner of the programme, alongside Callaghan Innovation, Kiwibank provides financial sponsorship to the programme. In fact, Kiwibank looks for opportunities to invest in some of the businesses that come out of the programme. Each team is assigned a relationship manager, who acts as each teams ‘go-to’ person, and checks in once a week to see how they’re progressing as well as learning how Kiwibank can help.
The partnership is about more than the money donated. Kiwibank provides levels of expertise to the teams, by offering mentoring and support from Kiwibank staff members, as well as introductions to their valued financial sector networks.
Throughout the three month programme, the Kiwibank office is buzzing with excitement. Each person of the 300 Kiwibank staff involved in the accelerator is intrigued by the fintech sector – and wants to learn as much as possible, while also teaching and supporting as much as possible.
The Kiwibank employees involved in the working with the accelerator team also benefit. They are given an insight and first-hand experience into how startups work, and learn how corporates can take these principles and incorporate it into how they operate.
Being involved with the accelerator isn’t a part of their regular day job for these relationship managers and mentors, however they are so passionate about working with these startups, that they give their time outside of work to help, mentor and guide.
Paving the way
Although all New Zealand banks are involved in fintech in some capacity, Kiwibank has been the leader and face of fintech in New Zealand through their involvement with the accelerator programme.
“We’ve been first off the mark with getting involved in fintech.”
- Peter Fletcher-Dobson, Digital Advisor, Kiwibank
The team involved are excited about the future of fintech and how it can disrupt the industry, and are looking forward to the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator Demo Day this month.
Learn more about the programme at nzfintech.kiwi