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The changing space of Australian fintech

fintech man in keyhole

How Australia's fintech market is coming into its own, and the people and organisations that are helping it along the way.

Fintech, also known as the development of technology in the financial space, is evolving in markets globally. However, the key differences in these global markets means that fintech hasn’t spread uniformly.
In the UK and US markets fintech is on much more progressive and supported stages. This is compared to Australian fintech, which, while in no way in its early stages of innovation, is very much in its infancy when it comes to public support.

It wasn’t until late September 2015 when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his new ministry that he spoke about the importance of fostering creativity as we move towards the “Internet of the things”.

Lucy Turnbull, Chair of the Committee for Sydney, identified the fintech opportunity 18 months previously in a report commissioned to Ian Pollari of KPMG. This led to the creation of Stone & Chalk, an independent and not-for-profit fintech hub for Australian startups.

Stone and Chalk

Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone and Chalk, talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Stone & Chalk essentially fills a gap in Australia’s startup scene. Stone & Chalk creates a hub for burgeoning companies in need of somewhere to meet, to collaborate, to find mentorship or to find deskspace and meeting rooms. It also runs mentor and internship sessions and startup events.

Support is paramount when it comes to a thriving fintech economy. London, which is regularly cited as the global capital of fintech, earned this title due to the combined efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Through events, the introduction of contactless payments in transport, international trade agreements and technology ambassadors, fintech startups are flocking to London to set up shop.

The focus on fintech globally, not only in the UK (London) but also in the US (Silicon Valley), Netherlands (Amsterdam) and throughout Europe and Asia shows that we aren’t setting a pace for this industry, but it’s instead something Australia needs to catch up on to remain globally competitive. By establishing fintech hubs such as Stone & Chalk and with the requisite support of the federal government, fintech may be able to stand-up out of its crawl and begin to walk and, maybe, one day run.

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