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NZ’s first FinTech Accelerator unveiled to help Kiwi start-ups soar

By Ashton Young, 06 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Kiwibank, Xero, Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ have all come together to release an initiative to support Kiwi start-ups.

Based in Wellington, it will initially fund and support eight Kiwi FinTech start-ups to turn great ideas into fledgling businesses by building, launching and expanding products in global markets.

Kiwi Bank chief executive, Paul Brock says the combination of financial services and technology could help the New Zealand economy prosper.

“The global FinTech industry is taking off and New Zealand is ideally placed to take a leading role in the FinTech revolution,” Brock says. “New Zealand has shown its ability to grow true digital-era disruptors that can foot it with the world’s best so the challenge is to build on that success so others can break into global markets.”

Brock says the key to this growth is to support innovative Kiwi startups to take new financial products and services to the world.

“The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will stimulate FinTech innovation in New Zealand by helping new ventures prove, build and launch their ideas,” Brock says. “It will do this through providing funding, expert mentoring and connecting them with investors.”

2016 and beyond certainly seems to be the time for FinTech ventures, as a March 2016 PWC report found that 83 percent of financial services companies surveyed believed their business was at risk of disruption from FinTech companies.

“We’re very ambitious for Kiwi FinTech,” Brock says. “With enough guidance and perseverance, Wellington could establish itself globally as a place where great FinTech ventures are born, joining other cities such as Singapore, San Francisco and London. This will attract the best and brightest talent to New Zealand, along with new investment.”

The programme is co-funded by Xero and Callaghan Innovations and will seek to support startups with Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab acceleration solution.

Xero CEO, Rod Drury says New Zealand is in a great position to capitalise on FinTech’s growth, both internationally and domestically.

“Financial technology is reshaping the way small businesses around the world run their operations - giving them a deeper insight into their true financial position and enabling them to make better-informed business decisions,” Drury says. “Together with Kiwibank, Xero is keen to leverage our global relationships with businesses, accounting professionals and financial providers to foster New Zealand’s next high-growth companies.”

The accelerator programme commences in February 2017.

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