CBA’s startup investment arm, X15ventures, is looking for retail innovation startups for its next accelerator program

- June 22, 2021 2 MIN READ
x15ventures, Toby Norton-Smith
x15ventures managing director Toby Norton-Smith
The Commonwealth Bank’s fintech investment arm, x15ventures, is on the hunt for startup founders looking to reimagine the retail experience to take part in its accelerator program, Xccelerate21.

Xccelerate21 is a fast-tracked program for experienced entrepreneurs to achieve rapid growth for their startup. This year, applicants will be invited to reimagine retail, including how customers shop, pay and are rewarded throughout the retail experience.

The best idea will walk away with a $150,000 SAFE  (simple agreement for future equity) note from x15.

x15 is seeking founders in early stage startups that are supporting businesses in the digital transition to online or marketplace models; solving challenges around payments and cash flow for both customers and businesses; and connecting businesses with the right customers and ensuring long-lasting relationships.

x15ventures Managing Director, Toby Norton-Smith, said startups backed by x15 also get access to expertise, technology and security to help them scale with CBA as a strategic partner.

“Xccelerate allows us to open our doors to earlier stage startups and entrepreneurs, help test and evolve their thinking, and for the winner, access early-stage funding and a plan for how they could scale in the future through x15 and CBA,” he said.

Stone & Chalk is helping in the search for potential startups and CEO Alex Scandurra said the pandemic had prompted retailers to consider new channels and technologies to reach and maintain relationships with customers.

“We’re pleased to support x15 by leveraging the reach through our leading Impact Network, alongside several other ecosystem partners who are committed to shaping the future of Australia’s startup scene by supporting innovative founders using emerging technologies to solve real-world challenges,” he said.


Launch event and pitch day

A launch for the Xccelerate21 program will be held at Stone & Chalk Sydney on June 29 and streamed online.

CBA’s Omaya Robinson, Norton-Smith, x15’s Head of Portfolio, Yish Koh, Zip’s John Batistich, Payble’s Elliott Donazzan and last year’s winner James Bowe from OwnHome will talk about the potential in retail innovation.

Koh said: “With the boom in online and omnichannel retail continuing post-pandemic, and the increasing blurring of the lines between shopping, marketing and financial services, there has been a transformation in how consumers discover new products and expect rewards for loyalty, particularly for millennials and Gen Z.”

Applications for the Xccelerate21 program close on July 13, with the finalists presenting at an in-person Pitch Day on August 12.

You can register for the launch on June 29 here. More information on the program is available at x15ventures.com.au/xccelerate21