Sydney coworking community Fishburners has landed yet another big name partnership, announcing this week that National Australia Bank (NAB) has joined forces with the space to provide support for its startups.
The partnership will see NAB get a desk in the space, giving it a first hand look at the 176 startups residing in the four storey building on Ultimo’s Harris St, and the opportunity to work with them closely to deliver solutions for its customers.
Jon Davey, executive general manager of NAB Labs, said it’s important for the bank to partner with companies it can learn from to help it meet evolving business and technology trends.
“We see the digital environment changing significantly, and much of this change is being driven by smaller companies and startups…we want our NAB team to be among the best global thinkers in the innovation space and give our customers access to the best ideas,” Davey said.
Murray Hurps, founder of AdMuncher and general manager of Fishburners, said the partnership with NAB is one of the most exciting the space has had so far – no mean feat considering Fishburners has partnered with companies including News Corp, Google, Optus, PwC, Xero, and most recently Dropbox.
Hurps told Startup Daily that NAB “aligns perfectly” with Fishburners’ goal: to create more Australian startups. The space has turned down lucrative partnership deals in the past because they “just wouldn’t make our startups more successful.”
“I first took an interest in NAB after seeing their partnership with Xero. It’s refreshing to see a bank going the extra distance to give customers what they really need, and the partnership with Fishburners is entirely about delivering more of the same,” Hurps said.
The main thing Fishburners will get from the partnership, said Hurps, is a customer for its startups, and potentially many more startups in the community as NAB learns more about the local ecosystem.
“Big Australian banks are probably one of the most challenging potential clients for a startup. If you have a relevant product or service though, it’s a massive boost just to say you have had NAB as a customer. Customer number 2 is suddenly a whole lot easier,” he said.
With NAB having announced the launch of NAB Ventures, a $50 million innovation fund, earlier this year, the partnership also means Fishburners startups will have the opportunity to work closely with a potential investor day in and day out.
NAB is just the latest Australian bank to double down on the startup space. Westpac launched its $50 million Reinventure Fund last year, while Commonwealth Bank opened an Innovation Lab in the Sydney CBD last year.