H2 Ventures Fintech Expo – ASX Exchange, Bridge Street Sydney.
Scalability, recurring revenue and a global aspiration are the key characteristics of the new breed of Fintech companies who are now graduating from a number of accelerator programs both here in Australia and around the world.
Fintech is well and truly on the tip of everyone’s tongues and edging the wallets of some of the world’s biggest venture capital funds, including the Blackbird fund.
H2 Ventures, alongside Investec and the ASX, sponsored a thought provoking Fintech Expo in Sydney on Wednesday (14th October, 2015), hosting a range of talks from exciting new Fintech companies which have just graduated from the H2 Ventures Fintech Accelerator program.
H2 Ventures is run by Ben Heap and his brother Toby Heap. Ben got proceedings underway, providing a number of interesting worldly statistics about the growth of Fintech startups year on year.
Ben then welcomed Richard Brandweiner, CIO of First State Super, to engage in some inspirational talk around their new $53 billion fund to invest in Fintech, Biotech and Technology focused companies. Richard stated ‘Investing in venture capital is so much more beneficial for the long term wealth of a country,’ which was a very apt comment.
Toby introduced a panel of more established Fintech start-ups including Chris Brycki, Founder of Stockspot, Sid Sahgal, Founder of Macrovue and Nick van den Berg, Co-Founder of Simply Wall St to discuss some of the issues encountered early on.
Regulation, people management and removing the risk from potential investors were the three biggest focus areas discussed as stumbling blocks for early Fintech ventures.
Chris Brycki gave a great talk about how important it is to remove the risk from your potential investors and to think in
terms of their outcomes.
Developing the business through digital & content marketing, hiring new staff and people management were also discussed as areas that a new entrepreneur may find challenging in the early days of a start-up.
Questions from the audience around competitors, marketing and how to target the international market provided for some lively discussion.
When a new style of business is launched that disrupts the way people have been doing business, a high degree of education of the market place needs to take place. Unfortunately this can be quite expensive as educating millions takes both time and money.
As a result, it was agreed that having a number of competitors enter the market is advantageous so more marketing dollars can be directed to educating the market.
A good case in point is the suite of robo-advice style services which are looking to disrupt the financial planning space. Clearly any financial service with the goal to create steady, positive returns with lower fees is attractive, like Stockspot and Macrovue, but having people hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment capital in a new concept, takes time.
Imagine having the responsibility of launching Uber. You are trying to convince passengers that getting into an unmarked car with a random person is safe and will save you money. As you can appreciate, this type of influence takes both time and money.
Getting back to the expo, we then heard from a number of graduates of the Fintech Accelerator including:
- Nick Motteram, MD of On-Market BookBuilds, who is providing open access to shares in IPOs and placements in one centralised place.
- Charles Thomas, Founder of Metamako (pronounced Met-am-a-ko) who has some very impressive network technology to reduce latency for trading exchanges and HFTs.
- Mendeep Sodhi and Atul Narang, Founders of Hashching, gave a very entertaining and informative discussion on their hot product, which allows you to access cheaper home loan rates without having to shop around.
- Peter Fiasco, Founder of Deposit Markets, explained the frustration of being able to find the cash rates of global banks and his solution to end that problem.
- Charlotte Petris, Founder of Timelio then discussed how she is able to bring institutions and businesses together to offer competitive rates of finance.
- And to finish it off we had a passionate talk from Mario Hasanakos, Co-founder of Piggy Money and his solution to help parents teach their kids (8-18 yrs old) about money using debit cards, saving and spending and to help educate them along the way. He also has a tailored mobile app used jointly by the kids and their parents.
In closing, Toby Heap moderated another lively discussion with 4 other panelists, including Al Bentley, Founder of Simple Wall St, Andrew Lai, Found of Financial Ask, Grant Bissett, Co-founder or Pin Payments and Asher Tan, Co-founder of CoinJar.
Among many items discussed in the closing 30 minutes the main conversation revolved around the key differences between the Fintech groups in Sydney, Melbourne, London, San Francisco and New York.
Clearly the bulk of monetary transactions are still being done in New York as the main Fintech hub, but much optimism exists to suggest Sydney has the potential to become a world class leader.
Investec were kind enough to sponsor the after expo refreshments, enabling plenty of networking and further discussion with the Australian companies who are leading the way forward.
It truly was an inspiration to be around the entrepreneurial leaders of the future.