Sydney and Melbourne in top 15 fintech capitals … Blackbird invests $6 million in NZ startup … LaunchVic funded La Trobe Accelerator kicks off

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Sydney and Melbourne have seen strong performance in the latest Global Financial Centres Index, which saw Melbourne move eight ranking spots and Sydney named as a global fintech leader.

The index, which is published every six months, aggregates and analyses research from organisations such as World Bank and United Nations, as well as thousands of survey responses, to determine the growth and attractiveness of 108 financial centres around the world.

Maintaining its position at number eight on the list, Sydney was also named a “global leader” this time around because of the growth in fintech activity in the city, and its connections with other global financial centres.

Melbourne jumped eight spots, from 21 to 13, overtaking the likes of Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Osaka.

“The improved result for Melbourne clearly validates the hard work being undertaken by industry members and the Victorian Government to grow Melbourne as a fintech and financial services destination,” FinTech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho said in a statement.

Blackbird Ventures leads $6 million funding round for New Zealand startup AskNicely

Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures has led a $6 million funding round for New Zealand-based customer feedback startup AskNicely, Fairfax reports.

Founded in 2014, the startup offers a platform that allows businesses to respond in real-time to online customer feedback. It has also attracted investment from high net worth investors, including Stephen Tindall, who founded retail chain The Warehouse, and NZ angel networks, according to reports.

La Trobe Accelerator kicks off 

The LaunchVic-funded La Trobe Accelerator program has kicked off this week, welcoming nine startup selected from across Victoria to its 12-week mentoring program.

In August last year, La Trobe University received $1 million in funding to deliver the accelerator program, which has a focus on regional startups, as part of LaunchVic’s first funding round.

LaunchVic chief Kate Cornick said boosting opportunities and participation in the startup ecosystem is crucial in fostering growth in Victoria’s regional centres.

“A key part of our remit is to engage and grow the Victorian startup ecosystem, which is why LaunchVic’s funding of programs such as La Trobe’s Accelerator Program is so important,” she said in a statement.

The program will assist startups by providing funding, mentoring, and access to university experts working in the areas of sport, engineering, law, business, marketing and media.

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