News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.
Alex Scandurra - Stone & Chalk

Stone & Chalk, Westpac, and Data Republic partner to launch data accelerator FUELD

Local fintech hub Stone & Chalk has announced a partnership with Westpac and secure data exchange startup Data Republic to establish FUELD, a new accelerator program looking to match startups working in the data sphere to corporates.

Formed beside AWS and Westpac-backed venture capital firm Reinventure Group, FUELD will provide startups working with data solutions the chance to participate in a three month intensive program.

Selected teams will be granted access to streams of data through Data Republic’s platform, as well as access to anonymous data aggregated by Westpac.

Hosted at Stone & Chalk’s Sydney coworking space, startups will also be supported by AWS’ infrastructure, initial funding, and provided with mentorship from industry experts within Westpac, Reinventure, and Stone & Chalk.

Core to the program will be matching participants with businesses or “real customers” who will be ready to pay for their solutions at launch.

Alex Scandurra, Stone & Chalk’s CEO, said FUELD’s model of connecting data startups directly to corporates will be an “industry first”.  

“Corporates have business problems, startups have business solutions, there are organisations with big customer data sets, and these players don’t ordinarily talk together. This cross-ecosystem collaboration will connect these dots, and better yet, startups will be guided by world-class mentors to rapidly develop, test and commercially launch new products,” he said.

Leading the accelerator program will be Murray Hurps, former ‘interim’ CEO of Fishburners, who announced the end of his tenure in July before naming muru-D cofounder Annie Parker as his replacement.

Hurps said at the time that he was searching for a role that was “similarly rewarding” to the CEO role at Fishburners, after feeling that his leadership role at the coworking space was “complete”.

Speaking to corporates within Australia, Scandurra said they need embrace innovation to prevent becoming irrelevant, a move which FUELD can help facilitate.

“Westpac are one of the founding partners of Stone & Chalk and it’s great to see a large Australian bank take such an open and mature approach to innovation. Other organisations can take note from this model to accelerate solutions to their business problems, because once defined, they can be solved in a matter of months – not years – then executed back into the business, and commercialised to ensure the future success of the startup,” he said.

CATHY KOVACS, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT WESTPAC, DISCUSSES THE BANK’S APPROACH TO INNOVATION AND COLLABORATION WITH STARTUPS ON THE ‘STARTUP MEET CORPORATE’ PODCAST:

Set to kick off in late October, FUELD marks the latest accelerator program to launch in Australia this year. March saw Qantas partner with Slingshot to launch AVRO, an accelerator program aimed at commercialising innovative ideas within the travel sector.

The largest month for accelerators, last month saw three new programs announced, two of which were supported by Slingshot.

Backed by the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Industry Accelerators Program and industry partners Amadeus and Brisbane Airport Corporation, Slingshot launched Horizons, a tourism accelerator, as well as the Icon Accelerator, a regional program developed in partnership with the University of Newcastle.

The month also saw Startupbootcamp launch Energy Australia, a Melbourne-based accelerator program looking to support startups working around energy efficiency, independence, and analytics solution.

Expressions of interests for FUELD are currently open. You can read more about the program here.

Image: Alex Scandurra – Stone & Chalk CEO. Source: Business Insider.