IT Brief NZ - Moment of truth for fintech accelerator participants

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Moment of truth for fintech accelerator participants

A step-change is taking place in New Zealand’s flourishing fintech sector, with participants in the second iteration of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator highlighting a growing maturity, sophistication and global potential.

Graduates of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator 2.0 will showcase their work at a Demo Day in Wellington on May 16.

Ventures will first pitch to angel investors and early-stage venture funds at an investor-only session, followed by presentations to New Zealand’s business and fintech community later in the evening.

Kiwibank’s Mark Wilkshire says the latest crop of graduates showed how rapidly New Zealand’s fintech sector was developing.

“The startups this year are a step up again from the ventures involved in the inaugural accelerator.

“The nine startups involved this year not only had strong and well-considered concepts, they also had solid business cases and plans to take their products and services to domestic, and crucially, global markets.

“In just a year, the maturity and sophistication of the startups we’ve been working with have been impressive. It’s proof of just how fast the fintech ecosystem is evolving in New Zealand.”

Demo Day is the culmination of the startups’ three-month participation in the Kiwibank-sponsored accelerator, delivered with partners Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ and run by Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab business accelerator.

Participants got to practice market validation and product development approaches used by companies such as Google, IDEO and Tesla.

They were able to access New Zealand’s largest network of financial services experts and a high-quality pool of startup mentors.

Wilkshire says levels of investor interest in this year’s accelerator graduates was high, with several having already secured significant injections of capital.

“One has already raised in excess of seven figures. Most have revenue models. Again, that’s a step ahead of where we would expect them to be at this stage, and they’re well-placed to go to market and seek capital for growth.”

Angel HQ chair Trevor Dickinson said the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator was a boon for startups and investors alike.

“As with any investment, especially in startups, there’s always a degree of risk. But because of the rigour of the accelerator process and the stress-testing of participants and their business cases, there’s a greater degree of confidence from investors to get involved.

“The investment community will be there on Demo Day with their chequebooks open, or even blockchain-powered cryptocurrency.”

New Zealand is ideally placed to grab a share of a fast-growing global sector, says Wilkshire.

“Fintech offers a prime opportunity to grow and diversify our economy. We’re embracing the disruption of the financial services sector by fintech because it’s something that’s already impacting on all of us.

“As a major bank uniquely focused on the New Zealand market, Kiwibank is making sure our homegrown talent has the backing and support to ensure New Zealand remains at the leading edge of global developments.”

The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator 2.0 Demo Day takes place at Shed 6, Queens Wharf, from 4.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesday, May 16.

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