23

February


KFA Team

FinTech in New Zealand and Beyond, Lachlan Heussler

Managing Director, Spotcap Australia and New Zealand

New Zealand, Australia’s greener and more serene cousin, is going hard in technology. Now a firm leader in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the TIN100 report, combined revenue generated by New Zealand’s tech companies swelled to $9.4bn in 2015. Kiwis are also paving the way for alternative finance. Despite having one of the smallest populations in the region, New Zealand has the third largest alternative finance market in the region.

New Zealand’s alternative finance sector has experienced an incredible 1117% year-on-year growth rate since 2013, which highlights golden age for Kiwi FinTech. As a market, New Zealand is brilliantly positioned, highly innovative and favourably regulated. Which is why, this month, Spotcap launched there.

In this article I’m going to talk about the strengths of the New Zealand FinTech market and the opportunities for Kiwi FinTechs on the world stage.

Why NZ is amazing for FinTech?

Innovation

When it comes to FinTech, New Zealanders are an overwhelmingly innovative bunch. Despite being a country of only 4.5 million people (that’s smaller than the population of 50 of the world’s cities), New Zealand has the 3rd highest volume of FinTech funding in Asia-Pacific, with startups like Harmoney, Semble and BraveNewCoin doing amazing things.

Crucially, for us, NZ is a leader in alternative finance (e.g. peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding & online lending). This is credited to its expertise in financial services and technology, and a culture of openness around trying and building new financial products.

Regulation

New Zealand policymakers have been lauded for cultivating a favourable regulatory environment for FinTech. In contrast to other regions in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand has created bespoke regulatory frameworks to govern alternative finance. In Australia, for example, crowdfunding is regulated by the same laws that apply to giant corporate finance companies, impeding its growth as a sector.

The New Zealand government pledged its commitment to the tech industry by opening its API. This gives developers on demand access to the government’s public data. For Spotcap, the API helps us to verify our clients via Companies Office in real time.

We’re excited to be a founding member of Fintech NZ, a working group comprised of players from the tech industry and government. Representation of fintech within policymakers is an unequivocal step in the right direction towards strengthening the sector and accelerating growth.

Positioning

Uniquely positioned in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand has easy access to other burgeoning FinTech markets like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. While we hear a lot of talk about FinTechs from London, Berlin and Silicon Valley, global FinTech investment is pouring into Asia-Pacific at an unprecedented rate. Bolstered by an encouraging government and a positive, flexible business culture, Kiwi fintechs have an incredible opportunity within the region.

How Kiwi FinTechs can take over the world

Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships. To go global, New Zealand FinTechs need to take advantage of being major players in Asia-Pacific, and also of being diplomatic allies of Europe and the States. Next month’s FinTech delegation from the UK is a prime example of this: the British government is sending a FinTech group to New Zealand to explore the market and exchange knowledge – representing an opportunity for Kiwi FinTechs that can’t be missed. Similarly, FinTechNZ is sending a FinTech business delegation to Singapore and Vietnam in November.

All in all, as a FinTech that’s just launched in New Zealand, we’re positive about the market. New Zealand is setting the standard for positive FinTech regulation in Asia-Pacific, as well as becoming a market leader in alternative finance. Uniquely allied with a large portion of the world’s booming FinTech countries, New Zealand FinTechs are entering a golden era of growth. And with the arrival of international delegations, there is no better time for Kiwi FinTechs to seize the day.

Who’s Lachlan Heussler?

Lachlan is the Managing Director of Spotcap Australia and New Zealand and has more than 15 years’ experience in financial services, both in Sydney and New York. He has witnessed the profound impact technology can have on financial services and is passionate about using technology to support Australian small businesses.

And what is Spotcap New Zealand?

Spotcap provides tailored business finance, allowing SMEs to focus on what matters - their business. The company has developed proprietary technology which assesses real-time business performance to grant short-term credit lines and loans. The company is led globally by CEO and founder Jens Woloszczak and locally by Lachlan Heussler, Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand.

Read more about Spotcap: https://www.spotcap.co.nz