Founded in 2001, Kiwibank has been helping every day New Zealanders manage their money, plan for their futures, and achieve financial independence for 15 years. Kiwibank is one of the principal sponsors of our accelerator programme and we wanted to find out why they’re backing us and where they see the future of FinTech in New Zealand.Founded in 2001, Kiwibank has been helping every day New Zealanders manage their money, plan for their futures, and achieve financial independence for 15 years. Kiwibank is one of the principal sponsors of our accelerator programme and we wanted to find out why they’re backing us and where they see the future of FinTech in New Zealand.
So, we sat down with Peter Fletcher-Dobson, which was rather easy seeing as he’s one of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator Programme’s VIPS and he’s here literally every day. Bonus points: he just happens to be Kiwibank’s Digital Strategy Advisor, so he knows what he’s talking about!
Take it away, Peter.
Excited to be a part of the programme
Fintech is a $1 trillion global market and New Zealand has an opportunity to become a leader in this space. Digitally speaking, this means there are unlimited possibilities. Wellington is already home to incredible hi tech businesses like Xero and Trade Me.
Personally, I want to see Sir Paul Callaghan’svision realised: one hundred more Kiwi technology companies transforming the New Zealand economy. The KFA is the first step in building a FinTech ecosystem to move us closer to this vision, which is why Kiwibank is so keen to be on board with this exciting initiative.
The benefits of backing KFA
This might not be a well-known fact, but New Zealand is already recognised as the easiest country in the world to do business in. Not bad! And we’re also number one for lack of red tape and for investor protection. Kiwis love tech – we lead the world in taking up financial innovations such as electronic and contactless payment adoption and have one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration.
The beauty of this is that we combine our love of technology with a really pragmatic, can-do approach to innovation in business. So, we get stuff done. In short, we’re an ideal country as an incubator for innovation – and that’s why the likes of Google and Facebook often use New Zealand as test bed for new products and services. We’ve got the perfect environment for a fintech accelerator. And Kiwibank is New Zealand’s most innovative bank, so it’s a natural fit for us to be backing the accelerator. A bit of a no-brainer, really! That’s not to say we didn’t have to fight off some of the bigger banks to be the main sponsor.
Leveraging the rise of FinTech in New Zealand
We’re seeing the rise of FinTech attracting the best-of-breed brands who want to work together to create new business opportunities. This is exciting stuff and we’re extremely proud to have foundation partners Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ. Then we’ve got these incredible industry partners: Xero, Mastercard, Microsoft, and sponsors EY, Simmonds Stewart and Springload. Hello ecosystem!
The KFA has managed to bring together an amazingly powerful group of great Kiwi and global companies to work together to really drive New Zealand FinTech. The programme offers the eight teams in the cohort an incredible array of mentors and experts from New Zealand and overseas. People that have created great financial services and digital businesses both here in New Zealand and abroad.
FinTech is an incredible opportunity for Kiwibank to work with and potentially partner with game-changing innovators to create game-changing financial services and experiences for our customers. Kiwibank has always been about innovating to make Kiwis better off. We get to be right in the centre of where the innovation is happening. We’re going to bring the best to our customers.
Kiwibank is also a founding member of FintechNZ, a brand new association created to drive FinTech here. We see the KFA as a natural fit with what FintechNZ is looking to achieve in creating an ecosystem in New Zealand to take Kiwi FinTech to the world stage.
What’s best for Kiwi biz
FinTech is all about leveraging new technologies to create amazing financial services solutions for consumers. By creating a FinTech ecosystem in New Zealand, Kiwis get to benefit first. The new FinTech businesses that are being built create new markets and opportunities for other existing businesses. There is a massive amount of customer and business value to be created in this new world and New Zealand has the ability to move faster and smarter than many others. We’re agile. We’re feisty. So, I see opportunities in driving demand for hi tech jobs; bringing in investment capital and also creating secondary market opportunities in some areas for new players. It’s all very win-win for everybody.
There’s so much opportunity, but personally I’m interested in solving customer problems around everyday money management and wealth creation. In terms of technology, blockchain is incredibly interesting in addressing problems around digital identity and reshaping how assets and value can be transferred on the internet. It looks to be the next step-change for the internet and so it’s hard to ignore.
KFA needs continued support
Even though it’s early days, the interest and goodwill that has been generated both in New Zealand from Government, business and consumers and even internationally around the accelerator has been amazing. The passion and excitement here, on the ground, within all the teams is quite amazing too. The accelerator is a perfect way to bring together all these players to create an ecosystem that will continue to foster FinTech brilliance in New Zealand. And Kiwibank is prepared to back it and be a part of it indefinitely.
Are you backing the bank backing the future of FinTech in New Zealand? Find out more here.
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