FinTech is fast becoming a sought after space within Australia, especially at a corporate and government level. That probably has something to do with Australian financial technology companies being some of the best in the world. They are global, are growing rapidly and are serving both the consumer and enterprise markets. It is little wonder that cities like London are beginning to wine and dine our local founders playing in this space with free overseas trips and educational tours in the hopes of wooing them to move offshore and call its city home.
Last night, in hopes to keep Australian Fintech businesses within Australia, Stone and Chalk opened its doors at 50 Bridge Street in Sydney’s CBD. The event was attended by respected figures in Sydney’s startup ecosystem, particularly in the finance sector, and the space was officially opened by The Hon. Anthony Roberts, NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy.
“Sydney is at the nexus of Australia’s finance, digital, creative and startup sectors,” said the Minister. “We’re ideally located for growth in the Asia Pacific region. Stone & Chalk is a great example of the exciting collaborations that are developing out of the NSW Government’s Knowledge Hubs initiative.”
Stone and Chalk’s ambition has always been clear; the independent and not-for-profit organisation wants to be seen as the heart of FinTech within the Asia-Pacific region. This is no small feat when you are competing with the likes of Singapore, an expat city built on the shoulders of financial companies.
There are 41 companies that were chosen by Stone and Chalk to be its founding residents, they were chosen to be part of the space after an intense six month selection process, which has resulted in around 120 people moving into the 2300 square metre space.
[table caption=”Foundation Residents” width=”700″ colwidth=”250|250|250″ colalign=”center|center|center”]
Calibre Financial Technology,Crowd Money,easyshare
Ei8ht,Financial Crimes Solutions,Fincast
Foreign Exchange Central,FUNDEXA,Grow Capital
Open Orbit,Ordermentum,Physi Secure
VentureCrowd,Zetaris,Source: Stone and Chalk
“From the outset our aim has been to attract the highest quality fintech startups in Australia, co-locate them under one roof,” said Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone & Chalk.
“We want to support fast tracking their growth to ultimately help them go global. We have been inspired by the talent and diversity of the startups who have applied, and the potential they have to transform Australia’s multi-billion financial services sector. And today is just the start, as we continue to welcome more Stone & Chalkers over the coming months and fill around 200 seats by the end of the year.”
The organisation has received more than $2 million in funding to launch the space. Investors include some of Australia’s most well-known enterprises who have also been listed as foundation partners of the space such as American Express, AMP, ANZ Banking Group, the ASX, KPMG, Macquarie Group, Oracle, Suncorp Bank, Veda, Westpac Banking Corp and Woolworths.
The foundational residents also come from a wide and varied collection of industries under the FinTech banner including superannuation, big data and analytics, consumer finance, crypto currency, capital raising and funding, as well as education. It is especially interesting and no doubt exciting for the residents that organisations like Reinventure, VentureCrowd and H2 Ventures have moved into the space, proving how serious Stone and Chalk is about helping its members access funding and mentoring from those connected with the highest calibre people in the finance industry.
As I have been saying a lot recently in previous articles about Australia’s startup ecosystem, proximity plays an important role when it comes to success within tech. There are now two Fintech hubs in the Sydney CBD with Tyro being just down the road from Stone and Chalk. This places the city in a really unique position to be a world leader in the Fintech space, especially if we see some cross-space collaboration. The goal should be attracting as much FinTech talent from around the country and overseas into the Sydney startup ecosystem as possible.