As fintech competition heats up, the UK government is supporting collaboration. Over the coming week, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) will host 10 of Australia’s best fintech companies, providing a chance for both the Aussie guests and the British big brothers to showcase their offerings.
The companies will have the opportunity to pitch at London Fintech Week, tour Level39 and make connections with industry players.
While in London, the Australian companies, whose services and products range from forex, P2P lending and payment solutions, will have the opportunity to pitch at London Fintech Week, tour Level39 (Europe’s largest fintech accelerator) and make connections with some of the industry’s most influential players.
Of course, the benefits extend to both sides. Australia has a burgeoning fintech industry, and British investors and entrepreneurs are keen to scope out what opportunities are available down under.
Nick McInnes, Director General for UK Trade and Investment in Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are pleased to be providing support to such an innovative group of Australian companies so that they can learn from the thriving fintech industry in London and look for opportunities for collaboration and expansion.
Equally, we want to showcase the Australian fintech offering – it is a rapidly changing environment in Australia and now is the right time for British companies to look to do business here.”
The City of London
The significance of London as a destination for budding fintech entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. Indeed, the UK financial services sector accounts for approximately 9.4% of UK GDP, with London now the biggest global centre for fintech firms in terms of the number of people the industry employs, with an estimated 45,000 employees.
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Innovative entrepreneurs across the capital continue to produce exciting new companies which are attracting the eye of the world’s investment community.
Indeed, a recent report by London & Partners reveals that fintech firms accounted for 40% of the nearly $1.2 billion venture investments in London firms in H1 2015.
Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners, stated, “London is rapidly becoming the most exciting city in the world for tech. Innovative entrepreneurs across the capital continue to produce exciting new companies which are attracting the eye of the world’s investment community.”
The fact that the sector is booming is due in no small part to government programmes, accommodating regulation and incentives for start-ups. Among them include the Innovate Finance group, which was created with backing from the City of London Corporation to connect fintech startups, large banks and regulators.
Sydney is following in its big brother’s footsteps. Earlier this year, a new, independent, not-for-profit fintech hub was established in the city, seeking to foster and accelerate the development of world-leading Fintech start-ups.
For Sydney to replicate London’s success, the trick will be finding the golden thread linking the vested interests.
Looking to London for inspiration, Stone & Chalk Chairman Craig Dunn, who was a member of the Australian government’s financial system inquiry, urges closer collaboration between the financial services industry, government, regulators and start-ups. While he points to some positive steps in the country, such as R&D tax concessions and grants for entrepreneurs, he notes that Britain has gone much further, including offering entrepreneurship visas, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
At a recent event in Sydney, Claire Cockerton, the founder of leading UK fintech incubator Level39, said: “For Sydney to replicate London’s success, the trick will be finding the golden thread linking the vested interests, and working out how to marry and serve them in mutually beneficial or complementary ways.”