News & Analysis

Westpac and BlueChilli launch Innovation Challenge, offering early stage startups $40,000 and entry into accelerator

- September 17, 2014 2 MIN READ

Are you an early stage startup with a killer idea that will shake up the real estate industry? Westpac Group and venture tech firm BlueChilli want you, and are willing to put $40,000 on the table to prove it. The collaboration forms part of a new initiative to help drive innovation solutions for Westpac’s SME and commercial real estate customers.

Commercial real estate was selected as the first focus area for the inaugural Westpac Innovation Challenge, as it is a rapidly growing part of the Australian economy and a key focus area for the Westpac Retail and Business Bank. Future challenge rounds will be focused on solving business problems for other Westpac business customers from various industries.

“Our customers’ expectations of service are higher than ever and they expect us to keep up with their changing needs. By investing in innovation, both within our business and in partnership with organisations such as BlueChilli, we are able to quickly create and develop new ideas that will add substantial value to our customer service,” said Westpac Group Head of Innovation, Ian Hill, in a media release.

For this challenge, the ideal startup doesn’t have to be in real estate specifically so long as their technology or idea can be utilised and tested to help boost the sector. Anyone with a bright idea, an MVP in the making or a pilot trial in market can apply to be leveraged with Westpac’s support.

“We are looking for ideas that could potentially transform our real estate customers’ businesses. Westpac, like our customers, knows that innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of growth and are vital for sustained performance in a rapidly changing, digital economy,” said Westpac General Manager Commercial Banking, Alastair Welsh.

The winner of the first Westpac Innovation Challenge will receive a $40,000 cash prize to develop their idea and a six-month placement in the BlueChilli start-up accelerator program, offering potential for further investment opportunities with the company. Applicants will also get access to BlueChilli’s development team and assistance from Westpac to help build their customer base, distribution channels, and brand to stay competitive.

Applications opened today and close at 11.00pm on Sunday,19 October 2014. Startups can apply via this link.

Disclosure: This story was published prior to the official announcement. The article has been updated after receiving the media release.