New Sydney fintech hub Stone & Chalk has appointed Alex Scandurra as its CEO to lead the platform as it garners startup clients seeking to disrupt banking. The London Business School MBA Scandurra was Head of Strategic Partnerships & Barclay’s Accelerator Program, which is powered by TechStars. Stone & Chalk’s new office is set to open in June. About 330 entrepreneurs from 120 fintech start-ups have registered to work in the space, according to Investor Daily, ensuring Stone & Chalk will open at full capacity.
“We want to be a landing pad for international investors and entrepreneurs, by creating a sufficient pool for them to choose Sydney over other cities, but likewise, for our more successful entrepreneurs and investors here in Australia, we want to be a launch pad into other markets. That’s a big opportunity play that we have got, and and that is why the [corporate] partnerships are important, as they have operations in the markets we are trying to grow our teams into.”
Scandurra, a former captain in the Australian Army and co-founder of Barclays Bank’s accelerator program, told the Herald that collaboration between these established players and the companies trying to disrupt them – including P2P lenders, crowdfunders, investment advisers and start-ups working across payments, insurance, capital markets and crypto-currencies – is a fundamental principle of Stone & Chalk.
“Stone & Chalk is an independent, not-for-profit Fintech hub whose overarching objective is to help foster and accelerate the development of world-leading Fintech start-ups. It will be the physical “centre of gravity” for the local Fintech eco-system,” noted Scandurra on LinkedIn. “Digital disruption is transforming the financial services industry and there is much to be gained through greater collaboration between different stakeholders in the Fintech eco-system. Stone & Chalk is an industry led initiative and reflects a collaborative effort between Fintech entrepreneurs, VCs, corporates and government, to incubate and nurture financial services-focused tech start-ups in ways not seen in Australia before.”
ANZ, HSBC, Macquarie Group, Suncorp, Westpac., wealth giant AMP, insurer IAG, global card giant American Express, retailer Woolworths and global technology giants Amazon, Intel, and Oracle are foundation partners of Stone & Chalk, according to the Herald.
“It is important to make clear that while we are partnering with large organisations, they do not in any way control what we do with the teams, or how the teams operate, or get guaranteed access to the teams,” Scandurra said. “It is about the start-ups first…[and] looking at what I have seen so far of the applicant pool, we have already got some fantastic teams that are going to disrupt the very partners supporting the space.”
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