In Startup Smart

Nine Australian ventures including Prospa, Tyro and Society One have been listed among the world’s leaders in fintech.

The annual Fintech 100 list, compiled by H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech, ranks startups and established high-growth ventures from around the world in a top 50 established leaders category and a top 50 emerging stars category.

Prospa joint founder and CEO Beau Bertoli says it’s exciting to be one of the only Australian-focused fintech companies to be recognised among unicorn giants like Stripe, Square and Xero.

“We’re the highest ranking Australian-only business and for us as a company, it’s really satisfying to be leading the charge for the Australian fintech community,” Bertoli tells StartupSmart.

“We’re one of the pioneers in the fintech space in Australia and we’re in our fifth year now. It’s allowed us to observe all the different trends that are going around the world [and] different market conditions as well.

“That’s really given us the opportunity to build a business we want to see and we think can work in the long run.”

Australian startups HashChing, Afterpay, Brighte, Data Republic, Identitii and Spriggy made the top 50 emerging stars category, which features bold, disruptive and potentially game-changing ventures.

Fintech 100 companies are selected based on five core factors: total capital raised, rate of capital raising, geographic and sector diversity, consumer and marketplace traction and degree of innovation.

“It’s good to see Australia have that recognition,” Bertoli says.

“[Australia] may have started late but we’re building really good businesses across the broad fintech sector.”

Bertoli is hopeful this recognition will spotlight Australia to venture capitalists around the world and increase the amount of capital injected into world-class fintech firms grown Down Under.

“At the end of the day it takes capital to build this, it will bolster investment in fintech,” he says.

Worldwide trends in fintech

Dominating the global fintech market is China with Hangzhou-based Ant Financial securing the number one spot for established innovators in fintech worldwide on the Fintech 100 list.

Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble said in Adelaide recently that China is a nation to watch for innovation given the sheer amount of data it harbours.

Within three years, China has gone from having just one fintech venture feature on the Fintech 100 list to now dominating it with 13 companies.

Four of the world’s top five established fintech firms are Chinese.

The global fintech market has also enjoyed immense financial backing with investors backing Fintech 100 ventures with an additional $19.2 billion ($US14.6 billion) of new capital since last year’s list was released.

H2 Ventures Toby Heap says it’s a promising sign for the sector as it continues to create wide-scale disruption.

“The continued dominance of China, which rapidly rose last year to take the top spot, tells only part of the story,” says Heap.

“We are seeing the emergence of exciting fintech players in countries across the world, from India to Israel, from Portugal to the Philippines.”

KMPG’s fintech practice global co-lead Ian Pollari adds that more than 90% of the top 50 fintech leaders challenge traditional business models and incumbents in the financial services industry.

The list spotlights emerging fintech sub-sectors, including new technologies in regulation and insurance, while lending solutions also continue to grow.

“The report also highlights a growing and increasingly diverse fintech sector, with the creation of value in new sub-sectors such as ‘regtech’ and data and analytics, and the continued growth in ‘insurtech’ and blockchain,” Pollari says.

Australia’s leading established fintech companies

  • Prospa (global ranking: 31), co-founded by Beau Bertoli and Greg Moshal in 2012, offers loans to small businesses on its proprietary tech platform.
  • Publicly-listed Tyro (global ranking: 43), co-founded by Peter Haig and Andrew Rothwell in 2003, bills itself as “Australia’s nextgen bank” specialising in integrated EFTPOS solutions.
  • Society One (global ranking: 50), co-founded by Greg and Matt Symons in 2011, has become Australia’s largest marketplace for borrowers and investors.

Australia’s emerging fintech stars (in no order)

  • Data Republic, co-founded by Danny Gilligan and Paul McCarney in 2013, is an open data marketplace for businesses to transfer sensitive information securely.
  • HashChing, co-founded by Mandeep Sodhi and Atul Narang in 2015, is an online marketplace for home loan deals, which property buyers can shop on for free.
  • Identitii, co-founded by Eric Knight and Nick Armstrong in 2015, has created a blockchain solution that uses patented token technology and can work with incumbent central banking systems.
  • Brighte, founded by Katherine McConnell in 2015, is an end-to-end automated digital platform that facilitates simpler, interest-free payments on home energy and improvements.
  • Publicly-listed AfterPay, co-founded by Nick Molnar and Anthony Elsen in 2014, enables shoppers to pay for purchased goods in four instalments.
  • Spriggy, co-founded by Mario Hasanakos and Alex Badran in 2015, is a mobile app for children to manage pocket money with their parents.

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