Creative HQ is excited to be launching New Zealand’s first FinTech Accelerator.

A three-month programme designed to turn fledgeling businesses into global success stories that could help New Zealand grow its share of a burgeoning global $1 trillion (NZD) industry.

CEO Stefan Korn said that there is already a surge of FinTech startups in New Zealand and the programme will help give a platform for these companies to raise funding so they can scale quickly.

“Combining forces with corporates like Kiwibank and Xero has huge benefits for early stage companies. Benefits like access to established supply chains, partner models and deep sector expertise. We’re excited to be partnering with such innovative companies on this.”

Kiwibank chief executive Paul Brock said the effective combination of financial services and technology could be a boon for the New Zealand economy.

“The key is to give innovative Kiwi startups the support they need to take new financial products and services to the global stage and grow the New Zealand economy. The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will stimulate FinTech innovation in New Zealand by helping new ventures prove, build and launch their ideas. It will do this through providing funding, expert mentoring and connecting them with investors.”

A March 2016 PWC report into global FinTech found that the landscape for financial services was being redrawn as FinTech altered how, when and where financial services and products were provided. 83% of financial services companies surveyed believed their business was at risk of disruption from FinTech companies.

Global investment in FinTech ventures reached $5.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 67% over the same period last year.  In Australia, the FinTech sector is forecast to grow to more than $4 billion by 2020, of which $1 billion will be new added value to the Australian economy.

“We’re very ambitious for Kiwi FinTech. With enough guidance and perseverance, Wellington could establish itself globally as a place where great FinTech ventures are born, joining other cities such as Singapore, San Francisco and London. This will attract the best and brightest talent to New Zealand, along with new investment,” he said.

Co-funded by Callaghan Innovation and Xero, the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will support startups using Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab acceleration programme.

Lightning Lab will take in eight digital startups and provide them with structure, startup methodologies, business skills and focused support to help them successfully prove, build and launch ideas to market.  The 14-week mentor-intensive programme is based on the best of breed accelerator model developed by TechStars in the United States.

Xero CEO Rod Drury said New Zealand was ideally placed to capitalise on FinTech’s growth internationally and domestically.

“The growth of the financial technology sector is a boon for the local economy.  We see this as a great opportunity to develop our local small businesses, technology leaders and professional workforce by helping to propel the country’s pace of innovation.

“Financial technology is reshaping the way small businesses around the world run their operations – giving them a deeper insight into their true financial position and enabling them to make better-informed business decisions.

“Together with Kiwibank, Xero is keen to leverage our global relationships with businesses, accounting professionals and financial providers to foster New Zealand’s next high-growth companies,” he said.

The accelerator programme commences in February next year 2017. Applications are now open to interested entrepreneurs throughout New Zealand.

To view the criteria and apply, visit the website here.

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