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News & Analysis

CBA is tipping $28 million into startups via VC funds

- July 30, 2020 2 MIN READ
CBA CEO Matt Comyn. Photo: CBA
The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is using venture capital firms Square Peg Capital and Zetta Venture Partners to invest in startups, putting US$10 million (A$14m) each into the latest funds from the two VCs.

Zetta is a US-based fund investing in artificial intelligence.

In an update on the bank’s innovation program this week, CBA CEO Matt Comyn announced that the bank had also invested in its fourth tech startup, Backr, through its own fund, X15 Ventures.

Backr is a web app to help someone launch a small business, taking through a step-by-step process. It’s the first venture developed outside the bank to receive funds from X15 Ventures, which launched in February 2020,.  The other three are Vonto, Credit Savvy and Home-in.

The Backr app is set to launch in September 2020.

“Through Backr, we hope to help thousands of new digitally enabled small businesses get off the ground. This is now more important than ever given the need to drive the economic recovery,” Comyn said.

“To support this initiative, CBA will deposit $500 into the account of any eligible business launched through Backr, until the end of 2020.”

Backr is the fourth business to come out of the and is the first business developed outside of the Bank.

X15 Ventures Managing Director Toby Norton-Smith, said Backr is a portal for aspiring entrepreneurs and micro-businesses.

“This small business-in-a-box service simplifies the process of setting up a business, which we know can be quite daunting for many first-time business owners,” he said.

The announce came just a few days after CBA announced it had awarded Givvable, a startup that that helps companies find and source sustainable suppliers, $150,000 in cash as the winner of its inaugural Xccelerate2020 venture program.

The CBA’s biggest investment is the fintech space has been the Swedish BNPL Klarna, paying US$300 million for a 5.5% stake in the venture

The bank said that since Klarna’s launch in January 2020, the app has been downloaded by more than 270,000 Australians, with more than 80 merchants on the platform. Meanwhile, global revenue for Klarna hit A$750 million for the first half of 2020.

When it comes to digital banking, CBA said more than 6.1 million customers now use the CommBank App, up 500,000 on FY19, with more than $1.2 billion is now transacted through the app daily.