Toby Heap


Stone and Chalk opens with hopes to accelerate fintech growth in Australia

3:12AM | Tuesday, 3 March

Stone and Chalk, a new fintech hub that promises to help accelerate the development of Australian fintech startups, was unveiled in Sydney on Tuesday.   The independent not-for-profit will be located on level 26, 45 Clarence Street in the Sydney business district. It will include 1230 square metres of office space with the potential to grow to 3000 square metres.   Stone and Chalk’s co-working space will open in May and can fit up to 150 entrepreneurs, as well as offering space for seminars, industry meetings and conferences. Corporates will also be able to rent space in order to collaborate with the startups working there.   New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, who spoke at the hub’s launch yesterday, says it will encourage innovation and creativity in fintech.   “Stone and Chalk will provide fintech startups with subsidised office space to collaborate, network and investigate venture capital opportunities,” he says.   “The fast-growing fintech sector will further strengthen Sydney’s position as Australia’s business capital and a globally recognised and competitive finance sector.”   Stone and Chalk chair Craig Dunn says the hub will become the heart of fintech in Australia and hopefully Asia.   “Digital disruption is transforming the financial services industry and there is much to be gained through greater collaboration between stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem. We are focused on brining to life our vision for Sydney’s fintech hub to support startups compete, thrive and lead on a world stage.”   Toby Heap, managing director of the AWI Ventures fintech accelerator program, says the new hub will provide a physical focus for the growing fintech ecosystem.   “Our aim is to provide an ecosystem of advice and support that empowers the brightest up and coming financial services executives to leave their often comfortable nests and start a new generation of world leading financial services organisations.”   The hub was made possible due to professional and financial contributions worth more than $2 million from Allens, Amazon, American Express, AMP, Capital Markets CRC, CIFR, FINSIA, Finzosft, HSBC, IAG, Intel, KPMG, Macquarie Group, Oracle, Suncorp Bank, Veda, Westpac and Woolworths.   Co-founder and chief operating officer of Pocketbook, Bosco Tan, praised the commitment shown by the government and private organisations in coming to “collaborate and elevate innovation”. “Being surrounded and supported by the who’s who of the sector is a critical step to shortening the process of ideation and execution,” he says.   Posse co-founder Rebekah Campbell says the there’s a huge opportunity for innovation in financial services.   “The fintech hub is a great initiative to drive focus and collaboration in the sector. I’m sure we’ll see some giant disrupters emerge as a result in years to come,” she says.   Fintech start-ups that would like to express interest in moving to Stone and Chalk, visit for more information. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Interest grows in Australia’s booming finance industry startup sector

11:29AM | Tuesday, 25 November

Fintech accelerator AWI is organising an expo for self-directed investors amidst booming interest in Australia’s booming finance industry startup sector.   Open to both investors and those interested in learning about the sector, the 2014 Self Directed Investor Expo will run from 9am to 4pm on November 27 in the theatre under the ASX Exchange Centre in Bridge Street, Sydney.   AWI head Toby Heap told Private Media the past 12 months has been a period of rapid growth for the sector, which includes peer-to-peer lending, equity crowdfunding, and other financial services.   “When we started earlier this year, when I told people about fintech they would look at me blankly. Now everyone knows what fintech is, and the momentum is exciting,” Heap says.   “Financial services were slow to be disrupted compared to other things being disrupted by the internet and the cloud. That’s why, when it comes, it happens fast.   “The big innovation is to cut out the middle man. Until now, there was a sense people had to outsource control of their financial future. Now there’s a range of products that allow people to take control of their own finances.”   It is this growing interest among consumers keen to take control of their own finances that led its accelerator demo day to morph into a full-blown expo.   “We run an accelerator program specifically focused on financial services startups. Each six months, we take on another bunch of startups,” Heap says.   “So this day started out as a demo day for our first batch of startups, but fintech has been getting so big lately that we asked a bunch of other businesses to come along as well.   “We spoke to the ASX and they like what we’re doing, so they’re supporting us.”   The first intake, announced back in July, included Simply Wall St, Debt to 10k, MacroVue, and Equitise, while the second intake closed in September.   Aside from the graduates, companies such as Sharesight, SelfWealth, LiveWire, Intelligent Investor and Stock Spot will also make presentations at the expo.   In the afternoon, there will be a panel on P2P investing featuring Society One, ThinCats and RateSetter.   People interested in attending the event are advised to click here for more information or to obtain tickets.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.