Formed in 2013, Callaghan Innovation is the New Zealand government agency tasked with driving innovation in business. A Foundation Partner for both the 2017 and 2018 Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator, Callaghan Innovation took the time to describe what drew them back to the programme and why FinTech is one to watch.
What made Callaghan Innovation want to be involved in the programme?
As New Zealand’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation helps to catalyse innovation and accelerate commercialisation. We do this by connecting our customers to the networks, capability and co-funding they need to make their ideas happen.
With FinTech’s global-growth potential and some of the Kiwi successes we’ve already seen in this sector, it’s a great space to focus efforts. Last year’s Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator was a great success, so we were keen to support this year’s programme and build on current momentum. Running consecutive programmes creates a pipeline of talented startups and promotes New Zealand as an attractive hub for FinTech activity.
What is the most exciting technology emerging in the FinTech sector?
We’re excited to see the accelerating uptake of blockchain. There is massive potential for the technology to revolutionise what banks and other financial services’ organisations work here and abroad. The key to success is true value creation using the distributed ledger technology. And we’re delighted to see New Zealand businesses taking up the challenge, including some of the startups in this year’s Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator.
Why is NZ the ideal place to build the FinTech sector?
New Zealand’s regulatory environment is responsive to fast-paced sectors and disruptive business models. For instance, the Financial Markets Authority is heavily involved in KFA, and the New Zealand government has encouraged our major banks to demonstrate a commitment to open banking.
New Zealand is a globally competitive place to do R&D and develop software. We have access to an outstanding talent pool and offer a great test-bed environment. Callaghan Innovation is helping to build a thriving ecosystem in New Zealand, where strong networks help FinTech startups and new businesses solve problems and accelerate growth.
What do you think consumers are looking for in new FinTech offerings?
It’s the same answer across many industries: customers want smarter, easier and secure ways to get things done. This means picking, and effectively leveraging, the technologies that will make the most significant difference for customers.
It also means integrating services so that they provide a seamless experience. For this, collaboration is key. For FinTech, this means working together across public and private sectors.
It’s in the name but what made Kiwibank become involved as a Foundation Partner for the programme? We found out last time. For more stories from the programme and insights from those supporting it, sign up here.