It’s in the name, but what made Kiwibank step up to partner with an accelerator programme? We sat down with Peter Fletcher-Dobson, Digital Advisor, and Simon Hay, Senior Manager of Strategy, at Kiwibank to find out more about their involvement in growing the NZ FinTech ecosystem and their support of startups.
What made Kiwibank want to be involved in the programme?
Kiwibank was created in 2002 to disrupt banking in New Zealand and now wants to support Kiwi FinTechs to go global and seize the $1 trillion FinTech opportunity.
We see the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator creating a self-sustaining platform for NZ FinTech that brings together corporates, regulators, government and entrepreneurs.
Our purpose is to make Kiwis better off and by creating high-growth FinTech businesses we see this sector helping to transform New Zealand’s economy.
What is the most exciting technology emerging in the FinTech sector?
Three exponential technologies that we believe are transforming FinTech are:
- Machine learning is transforming artificial intelligence and enabling the rise and rise of chatbots and robo-advice;
- Blockchain is the logical extension of the internet as databases become decentralised with the potential to create a decentralised, more secure and more democratised internet and;
- APIs are the rails that will deliver the open data revolution giving consumers the insight and control over their finances they have craved.
But FinTech is not just about the technology, it’s also about using customer-centric lean-startup methods to rapidly solve problems for consumers. True innovation is making stuff people love and that’s what really excites Kiwibank.
Why is NZ the ideal place to build the FinTech sector from?
The World Bank recognises New Zealand as the easiest place in the world to do business. We’re a super-connected society and this small degree of separation tied with our lack of red tape means things happen quickly. We have fewer financial regulators and they are pragmatic and supportive of FinTech. As well, Wellington has the highest concentration of web-based and digital technology companies per capita in New Zealand. Wellingtonians are also three times more likely to work in the tech sector than other sectors. The city makes up 11% of New Zealand’s population but accounts for 15% of NZ’s technology sector output.
What do you think consumers are looking for in new FinTech offerings?
We’re delighted that the current Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator cohort covers Payments and Blockchain, Digital Identity; Insurance and Tax, AI and Robo-Advice and lending. These are all areas that will enrich and make easier the lives of Kiwis – and have enormous export potential.
We previously spoke to Delivery Partner – Creative HQ – about their involvement in the programme, but keep finding out what’s making FinTech one-to-watch in New Zealand as we speak to more of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator supporters. For those insights and more updates from the programme, sign up to the newsletter here.