So moving down the levels is really exciting and we have all done a great job of following the rules, most of the time. We now need to think about how we increase productivity in the short term while looking at the long term picture with things like Tourism. It was one of the pillars of our economy, with it now being decimated fintech needs to take its place front and centre. Every business around the world is in financial services in some capacity and with worldwide travel closed, the adoption of technology and the need for innovative solutions has never been more prevalent to slow down the boat called recession.
Fintech is deployable and scalable which makes it perfect and was on track to become our main export in 2025. That timeline is now redundant due to COVID, now is the time for industry to lead with Government and Regulatory support. Lets use our response to COVID to create a new home for talent and investment.
The impact of COVID-19 on the tech ecosystem was captured in a survey released recently by NZTech. Having looked into the results from FinTechNZ members I can see the biggest impact for fintechs is also the impacts on their customers with more than 50% of respondents highlighting this issue. However there are also specific challenges noted such as the impact on insurance and reliance on interconnected global processing. Fortunately, most fintech respondents haven’t had to reduce staff or use government support packages. They are however hoping the government will do more to stimulate R&D, and consider tax changes, particularly to help with customer’s cashflow.
We have been discussing the up and coming FSC conference and the role that both FinTechNZ and InsurTechNZ will play in delivering a number of the sessions which will dovetail with the overall theme of the conference. The first one will be “Insurtech across the Life Insurance value chain” this session will introduce selected representatives working in the tech sector to discuss developments which support enhanced customer engagement and process efficiency in underwriting and claims. The second session will focus on “The role of Tech in shaping generations of wealth” which will focus on the investments segment of the market. This session will introduce leading practitioners who are developing solutions in the WealthTech space.
We are also part of the Findexable Global fintech platform and are working together with Blockchain NZ to stimulate the conversation on its role post COVID.
We continue to discuss the need for a deep dive research project around the role fintech can play in driving economic growth and using the response to COVID as a geographical advantage. As a start to pulling the full report together we want to focus on one area and we believe it should be Open Banking. We will be pulling together a working group to discuss and shape how New Zealand should move forward, so if you want to be a part of the discussion please do get in touch with me.
We are working with one of the banks to address the challenges around issues like KYC and the sharing of information. We are hopeful we can adopt the same model that was created by the Royal Bank of Scotland and accepted as industry standards across all the banks in the UK.
Incumbents vs Fintechs
I had the pleasure of interviewing Antonia Watson CEO of ANZ Bank and it was clear to me that collaboration between large institutions and small technology companies will be critical to their success. She talked about being resilient and using technology to become more connected with her employees and customers, you can listen to the session here and also read about it in the NBR.
We are continuing our program of delivering virtual events and you can see them on our events page, social media and YouTube channels. It was great to hear from our panel talking about Productivity with more than 500 attendees listening to Murray Sherwin the chair of the Productivity commission, Anna Curzon from XERO, Jaraad Haar from AUT, Phil O’Reilly from IronDuke Partners and Charlotte Lockhart from 4 Day Week Global, discussing what steps can we take to help drive productivity to help with economic growth.
The launch of the Golden Ticket program was well received in the Start-up community and we are delighted to be helping to build and shape the program. We will have an extensive discussion on the 27th May at 9am involving all the program partners and the first recipient Kernel Wealth. We will also be able to share what’s next and how you might want your own organization to get involved to support the backbone of New Zealand.
We are working on a “Women in Tech” event but will move the conversation beyond D&I and focus more on what our message is and how to build awareness and make it clear how to find information about getting into the tech sector. I’m looking forward to hearing from Carmen Vicelich from Valocity, Leeanna – Kohn Hardy from Finappster, Bindy Egden from JRNY, Sonja Williams from Sharsies and Melissa Shore from AMBIT.
We are also looking at a Cyber event. With the increase in attacks and scams, this should be high on everyone’s radar. Also what does a digital presence look like now we are in Norm 2.0?
Takeaway Lunch, Fireside session. A proposal
We are proposing to run (potentially bi-weekly) fireside digital chats which have a short format of guest speaker/ topic, with round table, group chat and more. It will focus on the broad sector. We have been growing a list of guests and topics and believe this is a good solution for Tuesdays at noon for 30 minutes.
Current guests who have offered to help include:
- Richard Klipin – FSC
- Andrew Weaver – Digital Identity NZ
- Mitchell Pham – in his role and chair for the new Digital Council NZ
It is encouraging to see such a significant capital raise during COVID which should give some comfort that the door is still open, at least for the time being. Financial technology startup and home loan disruptor, Verteva, has secured a AUD$33m Series A capital raise which has been funded entirely by New Zealand’s Bolton Equities.
Founded just last year, Verveta has been in ‘stealth mode’ up until now, developing its product offering without any publicity. This is according to the founding CEO Andrew Walker, who along with his founding partner and CXO Chris Lumby, initially bootstrapped the startup.
The Series A capital raise with Bolton Equities marks their first round of external funding. They plan to use the funds for product development, business expansion and market launch
Stay safe and well,
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