CBA’s VC arm, x15ventures, is looking for payments startups to back in its revamped Xccelerate program

- August 2, 2022 2 MIN READ
x15ventures, Toby Norton-Smith
x15ventures managing director Toby Norton-Smith
The Commonwealth Bank’s venture-scaling arm, x15ventures, has revamped its accelerator program, Xccelerate, and is now on the hunt for five early-stage fintech startups to back. 

While the three previous iterations of Xccelerate have seen x15ventures choose an winner ultimate winner to back – givvable and OwnHome in 2020, and Splashup last year – this time they’re looking for a long list of 15-20 startups before narrowing it down to a final five for the program, who’ll then pitch to an investment committee from x15, CBA and additional Australian CVCs and VCs. 

Xccelerate provides founders access to mentors and experts, to help them accelerate the growth and understand the path to corporate partnership, as well introducing them to external investors. 

Applications opened this week.

x15ventures MD Toby Norton-Smith said that for this cohort they’re focusing on startups shaping the future of Australian payments.

“Xccelerate 2022 is an investment program for founders interested in scaling their businesses with enterprise partners. Early investment has the potential to unlock a long-term strategic relationship with one of Australia’s best-known institutions and  gives ventures the impetus to develop their enterprise strategy and readiness,” he said.

“From an early investment,  ventures can deepen their relationship with CBA, with potential for further investment, opening a pathway to distribution, integration, and other strategic benefits. 

“Payments are infrastructure – this is a blessing and a curse for any startup – the benefits of delivering new innovation are enormous as they cut across the economy, but the threshold for getting it right is  equally high. This is why enterprise partnership could be one way to remove some risk for founders.  We’re looking forward to receiving high-calibre applications.” 

A 3-part program

The three-part Xccelerate program will help early-stage teams understand how to navigate enterprise sales and strategic partnerships for early-stage ventures; connect with experts in fields such as risk, legal, cyber and marketing; and pitch for funding that can help facilitate a pathway to a strategic partnership with CBA via x15.  

x15ventures Portfolio Director Laura Faulconer said that after after two years of being a virtual-only event, they’re glad to get back to in-person sessions. 

“For this year’s Xccelerate we’re interested in teams innovating anywhere across the payments ecosystem, in areas like making payments more efficient and intelligent, solving cash flow challenges for small businesses, or providing value-add services at the point-of-sale,” she said.

“As long as there’s the potential to accelerate the future of payments here in Australia, and the team has the aspiration to scale with support from a large corporate like CBA, we’d love to hear from them. 

Laura Faulconer said that in the current tech funding market, Xccelerate has a valuable role to play in sourcing funding for ventures in partnership with other VCs and “in helping them quickly determine if enterprise partnership is a viable pathway, or a distraction to avoid at their stage”. 

Applications Thursday, September 1.  You can check the program entry requirements here before applying with your pitch deck.  

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a 30-minute virtual meeting with a member of the x15 Portfolio team, to dive deeper into their venture, with 15 to 20 teams selected for the Xccelerate Community Day on September 13.

A final five will be chosen to enter the Partnership Pathway Day on September 20, before going on to the Investment Pitch Night on  September 22, where one or more will secure investment.  

All Xccelerate 2022 events will be held in person at the x15 campus “xBase” in South Eveleigh, Sydney.