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News & Analysis

CBA’s x15ventures ramps up leadership team with Jane Martino and Ben Heap signing on

- January 27, 2021 2 MIN READ
Ben Heap and Toby Norton-Smith
Commonwealth Bank’s venture scaling entity, x15ventures, has made two key appointments, including its first non-executive, independent chairman in Ben Heap, while Jane Martino will become x15’s first external portfolio adviser.

Heap is prominent in startups and investment, as founder of fintech VC fund H2 Ventures, having invested in more than 50 fintech start-ups over the past five years, and praised the role x15ventures has played in the space.

“Since its launch, x15ventures has had a relentless focus on creating an environment for new businesses to flourish,” he said.

“I look forward to working with the Board and the management team to continue this focus, and further empower Australia’s innovators to bring new solutions to market.”

Jane Martino’s new role will see her provide insight and recommendations to x15’s investment committee on new ventures.

A prolific author best know for her books Mindfulness Made Easy, and the Thank You series.

She’s the chair and co-founder of Smiling Mind, which delivers free online mindfulness meditation programs to young people, and now has more than 6 million regular users, and has been a serial entrepreneur with several successful exits.

Martino’s an early stage investor who sees fintechs as the future of banking innovation.

“I believe the next wave of major breakthroughs for customers will be delivered via high-growth startups obsessed about solving problems faster and better than ever before,” she said.

“I am excited to be able to help x15ventures identify and support these new opportunities, which will ultimately empower Australian customers like never before.”.

x15ventures Managing Director, Toby Norton-Smith, said: “Jane brings a rare blend of successful entrepreneurial experience and a track record of scaling and growing businesses with venture capital and corporate investors and distribution partnerships – making her the ideal person to support and qualify the next opportunities for x15.”

“I am also delighted to welcome Ben as the non-executive, independent Chairman of x15venture’s Board. Ben’s long and celebrated career in financial services, as well as his extensive experience in the start-up scene, will help to deepen the Board’s existing skills and expertise.”