Melbourne will host a fintech meet-up this weekend aimed at giving early-stage entrepreneurs an understanding of the skills they will need to disrupt the big banks and major financial institutions.
The event, which will run from Friday March 27 to Sunday March 29, is organised by Startup Weekend in partnership with Intuit Australia.
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The event comes at a time when the fintech space is heating up in Australia, following the launch of multiple fintech hubs and fast-growing companies.
Darcy Naunton, the head of Startup Weekend Australia, told StartupSmart the meet-up is a perfect fit with Startup Weekend’s mission of empowering entrepreneurs.
“We just see fintech as being a really big growth opportunity,” he says.
“For me personally it’s the coming together of a recent career in finance and a more recent career in tech. There is a recognition by large banks and financial institutions that new forms of innovation and business models are going to come outside the four walls of their bank or company.”
Naunton says Startup Weekend has been running numerous themed events in Australia for some time and fintech was the perfect vertical to explore next.
“Startup Weekend been running for close to four years in Australia now and the point is to enable new entrepreneurs to understand what it is they can do in a short period of time and give them the confidence to start their own business,” he says.
“We’ve run verticals in health tech, tourism and had women-specific events and it just seemed to us a natural vertical to focus on. Melbourne’s a good place for fintech – we’ve had a lot of news come out of Sydney but we’re trying to put a bit of interest in Melbourne as well.”
The meet-up will allow entrepreneurs top pitch their ideas before forming teams and presenting their work on the last night to a panel of judges which will include Ryan Zhou, the co-founder of CoinJar, and Stuart Stoyan, the founder and chief executive of MoneyPlace.
Naunton says it is important entrepreneurs at the ideas-stage are exposed to the business opportunities that fintech can provide.
“I think it’s a matter of getting both parties along – you see that at other meet-ups and conferences,” he says.
“You’ve got grassroots meeting execs and embedded players. You need both parties because ultimately the financial industries have good reach and existing business models that work well, but this is about pushing the frontiers from the edges.”
The Startup Weekend fintech event is part of a national series of more than 24 “Startup Weekends” to be held across Australia this year.