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“Brand Australia” keeping fintech investment strong: Fintech Australia CEO


AICC fintech event

Danielle Szetho, CEO of Fintech Australia, said Australia's gold-class regulation and branding means finding capital investment is no longer an issue for fintech startups.

The strength of Australia's reputation in areas outside of fintech and our "gold class" regulation has led to strong capital investments in the fintech sector. CEO of Fintech Australia Danielle Szetho discussed the capital needs of fintech startups among other things at a panel, hosted by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, for Sydney's Spark Festival.

"Brand Australia has so much promise, and we see that all the time when we talk to internationals," she said. "They say that Australia has the hardest regulations to crack, and if they can make it here they can make it anywhere."

Szetho, who had just returned from a tour of Australia, also touched on where cities outside of Sydney were looking for investments.

"When you think about the geographic proximity of Perth, the time zone, a lot of the entrepreneurs I spoke to there, they’re not actually thinking about Sydney, they’re not necessarily looking East...they’re looking north instead of east," she said.

"They’re looking at Singapore and China, which gives them opportunities in so many more markets, and this is a mindset we need to cultivate going forward."

According to Szetho, access to working capital, which was originally an issue for Australian startups, has really turned around in the last 12 months.

"The areas we are seeing as really big challenges, though, is access to customers, so demand as well as getting partnerships with banks, in a survey 41% indicated they were finding it really challenging to build partnerships with financial institutions, and the other one is access to talent."

Szetho was joined on the panel by Beau Bertoli, CEO of SME lender Prospa and deputy CEO of the ASX Peter Hiom. Bertoli discussed partnerships with key players such as Reckon Loans and XERO, as well as developing Prospa's brand, as key to leading to a "fantastic flow of customers".

Hiom, at the opposite end of the both the product development journey and the market, explained the ASX's process for partnering with a startup to replace its CHESS system with a blockchain infrastructure in 12 months.

"We partnered with a company who had other shareholders like us. You remember Betamax vs VHS? We wanted to make sure we didn’t find ourselves wandering around with a tape that didn’t fit in the cassette recorder at the end of this process," Hiom said.

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