22 December 2017
Australia’s premier fintech and corporate innovation marketplace, Stone & Chalk has been selected by the Victorian State Government to establish a Melbourne Fintech hub, dedicated workspace and community for fintech startups at the Goods Shed North.
Victorian Minister for Innovation and Digital Economy, Philip Dalidakis says “the activation of the Goods Shed North in Docklands as a fintech and cyber security precinct will provide an important centre for Victoria’s growing technology sector.”
Stone & Chalk’s Melbourne General Manager Alan Tsen, previous CEO of Fintech Victoria, says this is a watershed moment for financial services innovation in Victoria.
“The State Government has recognised the importance of Victoria being at the cutting edge in innovating one of our most important industries by establishing the Fintech Hub – and we are honoured to have been chosen as their partner to roll it out. The professional services sector is the largest sector in the nation’s economy, and in Victoria alone, accounts for almost 20 per cent of gross product, and provides about 405,000 jobs.
“Fintech is playing a major role in transforming this sector and powering the jobs of the future. By establishing a major hub to foster startups, and collaborative innovation, the Government is building upon the State’s long tradition of attracting leading global players in the sector,” says Tsen.
Slated to open as early as February 2018, the new Fintech Hub at the Goods Shed North will comprise 1,500 square metres of floor space dedicated to fintech startups and various accelerators and innovation programs, as well as shared access to an impressive array of break-out, meet-up and event spaces, meeting rooms, kitchen and dining areas and end-of-trip facilities spread over a further 1,750 square metres. The space will accommodate up to 300 entrepreneurs, making it the largest fintech innovation hub in Melbourne.
Stone & Chalk plans to welcome regional startups, and also encourage international delegations to visit and take advantage of the ecosystem it is helping to develop.
In July this year, Stone & Chalk officially opened the doors of its Melbourne headquarters, housed alongside Agtech experts SproutX at Level 1, 459 Little Collins Street. As well as offering 60 desks to fintech startups, Stone & Chalk Melbourne kicked off a series of programs and partnerships to help develop the local fintech ecosystem. Founding corporate partners for Stone & Chalk Melbourne include ANZ, AustralianSuper, Findex, Genworth, Liberty Financial and NAB. These are all in addition to Stone & Chalk’s existing array of corporate partners.
Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone & Chalk, said the new Fintech Hub would position Melbourne as one of the biggest, most exciting places for fintech – and would help Australia to emerge as a leading player on the global stage.
“Fintech is a national opportunity, and the best way to help unlock the value of this opportunity is to create national networks to bring Australian startups, corporates, governments, and academia together and maximise collaboration. The Stone & Chalk Melbourne Fintech Hub will connect Victorian fintech startups with an innovation marketplace of large Australian and international corporate customers, high quality mentorship, top talent, and investment.
Australia needs Sydney and Melbourne to come together to build density in our startup sector in a way not seen before. We are embarking upon the creation of a national asset for Australia, one that will create an interconnected mega hub along the eastern seaboard.”
“Having seen the effects of fintech on the broader UK economy, our hope was that if we got it right here in Australia that other adjacencies would also benefit from the growth of fintech as a sector. We are already starting to see that innovation in cyber security, data science, connected devices, insurance and even agriculture are all starting to benefit from the rise of fintech in Australia.”
“The success or failure of Australia’s fintech sector hinges on collaboration, which is why Stone & Chalk takes a whole of ecosystem approach. This can already be seen in Melbourne with our joint initiative with SproutX where we are pioneering innovation at the cross roads of agriculture and financial services. Further partnerships including blockchain research and commercialisation with RMIT and a program to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurship with female-founder experts One Roof. The new Stone & Chalk at the Goods Shed North Fintech Hub will allow us to ramp up these programs and help accelerate the growth of the State’s high growth potential startups,” says Scandurra.
NAB, a corporate partner of Stone & Chalk, sees the upcoming relocation to The Goods Shed North as a positive move for the local ecosystem. “NAB has prioritised fintech partnerships and investments as an important strategy in driving our digital transformation. This move brings Stone & Chalk even closer to us, providing better access, insights and opportunities to work with leading startups and fintechs,” says NAB EGM Digital & Innovation Jonathan Davey.
ANZ’s Group Executive Director Digital Banking, Maile Carnegie also confirms ANZ’s commitment to the thriving Victorian fintech ecosystem. “We believe the only way to solve the world’s biggest problems is through partnering and working together. ANZ is proud to support Stone & Chalk, and welcomes its upcoming move to The Goods Shed North. Creating environments where new ideas thrive is essential to the future of Australia and this a Victorian Fintech Hub will be a flagship for Australia’s innovation and economic prosperity. The Goods Shed is an ideal home for the Hub given its proximity to some of the biggest potential customers for startups in Victoria. We also believe that our people will now be able to increase their knowledge and skills, encouraging them to innovate and to incubate their ideas both inside and outside the bank” says Carnegie.
Victorian-based, and 2017 Best Tech Innovation Award Finalist Gobbill is also gearing up its team to move with the community. “Our time so far with Stone & Chalk has seen us form vital connections for our business. Being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs, and accessing the advice and programs is not something we could do from a serviced office. The new environment will increase our chances of succeeding and going global,” says Gobbill’s CEO & Co-Founder Shendon Ewans.
Ben Williamson, Co-Founder of dealPad, a marketplace for corporate advisers and capital raising, sees the appointment of Stone & Chalk as critical for its operations. “The support of Stone & Chalk goes far beyond space and power – the value and strength of their referrals has been invaluable.” dealPad will be moving its team into the new premises as anchor residents.
The Goods Shed North is slated to open as early as February 2018, and will accommodate up to 300 burgeoning entrepreneurs. Applications can be made at www.stoneandchalk.com.au/apply
About Stone & Chalk
Since its launch in August 2015, Stone & Chalk has helped create a formidable fintech community across Victoria and New South Wales, and has become recognised as one of the top fintech hubs globally. Stone & Chalk has 24 Australian and international corporate partners, houses over 100 full time startups, 352 residents, with 13 of these now exporting. Together with its 32 alumni, Stone & Chalk startups and scaleups have secured over AU$211m of direct equity investment, and have created 500 direct new jobs in the areas of fintech, cyber security, insurtech, data science, and connected devices. Stone & Chalk has established resident and corporate innovation programs, inclusive of investor programs, pitch training, mentorship, and training.
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