Of all the technological innovations taking the world by storm, fintech has certainly been one of the most prolific. Hundreds of new startups are entering the space, offering products including everything from lending to more specialised fare.
Older, more experienced bankers and financial experts leaving their industries have created many of these startups. But just as many have started through young up-and-comers – and they’ve needed a little helping hand along the way.
This is one of the reasons incubators and accelerators have been such a key part of the fintech industry. All over the world, fintech businesses have been flocking to incubators in droves.
In the United States, the FinTech New York boot camp announced partnerships with major financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, and in the United Kingdom the Financial Conduct Authority received over 400 applications to its fintech Innovation Hub scheme.
Similar incubators are setting up shop in Australia. In Sydney, a number of fintech-focused hubs have already started working with dozens of businesses.
One of the problems facing these startups is scale and authority. Without access to established financial platforms, it’s difficult for startups to grow. Unlike many other industries, financial markets are built on certain platforms that have taken years to build, such as Visa’s global payments network, which until earlier this year was accessible only through complex IT connections. Without access to those platforms, a payment or banking fintech startup can only go so far.
But incubators are also working hard in this area to give new businesses a leg-up, and incubators are at the centre of that strategy.
“I think there’s still a challenge for the fintech space,” says Bradley Delamare, CEO and general manager of Tank Stream Labs, a co-working space which houses more than 80 startups and over 250 entrepreneurs.
“But I also think organisations have become a lot more open and and want to work collaboratively with fintech startups, because they see the issues those startups are trying to solve – and also the efficiencies and cost-savings they can bring.”
Delamare says projects like Visa’s Everywhere Initiative provide some of the answers to these challenges. The Initiative allows startups the opportunity to use Visa APIs within their own products, something Delamare argues is unique in the fintech space.
The Everywhere Initiative is giving startups the opportunity to run a pilot with Visa, and win up to AUD$70,000. Businesses are openly invited to prompt a pitch in response to one of three challenges, which winners provide to a select panel of judges.
Apart from the experience, Delamare says, having a major partner like Visa allows startups to engage in innovative practices they might not be able to develop on their own.
“Visa‘s new collaborative approach opens a new world of opportunity to startups,” he says. “Incubators bring that next level of innovation which would be hard for large companies to achieve because of the structures they have in place.”
“The incubators can bring more agility to corporates.”
One of the bigger benefits of these incubators, Delamare argues, is that technology controlled by larger corporations isn’t usually given to startups at this early stage due to a lack of formal security protocols, or established processes.
Working with Visa to provide those capabilities to startups, he argues, benefits everyone.
“We can bring entrepreneurs, innovation, we can bring agility to Visa,” Delamare says.
“It just shows that there can be collaboration between startups and the big end of town, and it can work very well.”
Entries to The Everywhere Initiative are open until August 26th. Register your interest in The Everywhere Initiative and submit your challenge response today.