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Looking forward, to change and opportunity


I am going to try not to mention the obvious but we are effectively living in the time of war. War against an unfamiliar enemy that is wreaking havoc on our normal lives and wellbeing. With this weekend commemorating ANZAC day it is a timely reminder that great sacrifices have been made and battles fought before; from them come great learning, change and opportunity. I am keen to continue the conversation around what opportunities this presents for the technology sector and more importantly FinTech which continues to be the fastest growing sub segment.


Tech start-ups are now finding it harder to raise capital and the one thing that we can be sure of is a much longer runway than before. That doesn’t mean to say that everyone is closed, having spoken to Sam at Blackbird Ventures they are very much open for business. One thing to be mindful of is pitching online, this should be more like a discovery conversation rather than all bull and bravado, so it’s worth perfecting this with video trials etc.


It is also worth noting that Callaghan Innovation celebrates its one year anniversary of Scale Up which is a great way to connect to the ecosystem. In these challenging times perhaps one option is to partner up with someone else to help ride out the storm.


We continue to work very closely with Government and we are speaking to the RBNZ around non-bank lending and Harmoney and Spotcap are leading those conversations for us. We are also looking at a proposal to Shane Jones around a National Accelerator program to drive more jobs and investment into the regions, this can be scaled quickly as we are building on existing programs, just deploying them into different parts of the country. I am also taking guidance from Tech Stars, Barclays Rise and a number of US programs.

Open Banking

The Minister has made it clear that this is on hold at present however I believe now is the time for the industry to come up with a workable solution and present it to Government I. maintain we do not want to be regulated to make this happen like the UK and Australia it just doesn’t work. 

Incumbents vs FinTechs

While at The Royal Bank of Scotland the then CEO Ross McEwan created an onboarding framework to make it easier for the large, slow and complex organisation to work and partner with smaller and more agile companies. He then shared this with the British Standards Institute and then got the other banks to adopt it, thus creating an industry standard playbook around engagement. Capital wasn’t wasted on the time taken to get an answer and RBS customers benefited from this. We are working with one of the banks in order to use this template for New Zealand.


Like everyone else we have moved rapidly into the virtual world and it has been very exciting, we are now attracting speakers from all over the globe as the need to be in the room has been removed. So, if you have an idea or a theme for a session then please feel free to get in touch.

We launched the Golden Ticket and Kernel Wealth was the first benefactor of the program. They helped us with the soft launch and will be providing feedback as they experience the program, so be sure to follow the linkedin page for updates. Applications will be open shortly for the next intake on the 1st of May, so keep an eye out and get in quick by registering your interest here. Currently we are still looking at holding our two day start-up workshops/seminars but will probably go virtual, again more information on this to come.

Techweek2020 has now also gone virtual and we will be looking to create a number of sessions to showcase our technology to a world audience using TechWeek TV, so get in touch if you want to speak, be part of a panel or MC a session.

Like many of you I have been impacted financially through COVID and although not new to working from home I now feel much busier, how does that happen? You will see a number of upcoming sessions focusing on working from home, protecting yourself against scams and cyber attacks (especially as many companies did not have the setup at home to run their business securely), remotely launching a new product into new markets, capital raising, US, Hong Kong and Singapore markets what you need to know, productivity and how adopting a 4 Day Week will increase your productivity by 20%, Open Banking, Intangible Assets, Health Tech and risk and compliance, so please get involved. 

Also register for a joint event on 18 May with the Trans Tasman Business Circle which will see me Interview Antonia Watson the CEO of ANZ bank, this should provide some great insights into how they are supporting the Start-Up and SME market. 

Gig Economy

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and other partners are launching the Gig Economy Challenge. The challenge is funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 (Innovate, Implement and Impact) program. In light of COVID-19, gig workers are likely to face new and unforeseen challenges which will affect their financial health. Calling for applications to seek viable solutions for improving the financial health of gig workers in APEC’s (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 21 member economies. If you have a solution, apply before 11 May. On offer is technical assistance worth $100,000 to pilot your technology product or service, up to $30,000 grant per team as seed capital, opportunity to pilot the solution in Malaysia, access to enabling partnerships, including financial institutions, technology companies and other infrastructure providers.

New Members

A big FinTechNZ welcome to our new members Outward Limited, HaelthTech NZ Ltd, Catalist, Hatch, Sandstone Technology and KiWiFi Networks Ltd.


We’re busy planning the next InsurTechNZ events but in the meantime we have a new Linkedin page, please follow us here to keep up with all the latest updates.

We have been forced into the current situation however New Zealand seems to be winning this battle so far. I believe we will endeavor to come out the other side stronger, finding ways to help stimulate our economy by working smarter not harder and adopting a more flexible approach to work. Embedding technology to help drive and more importantly monitor productivity.

Stay safe, find things to keep you sane and if like me you’ve been getting up a bit later than usual during lock down, tomorrow is the perfect opportunity for change and to commemorate our service personnel. I’ll be at the end of my driveway at 6am tomorrow Stand at dawn.

James Brown
General Manager

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