Kiwibank is in the middle of its first fintech accelerator, a three-month programme designed to prepare fintech companies to compete on a global scale.
Eight teams were accepted this year, giving them access to a network of financial services experts and a pool of startup mentors.
“In some places like cashless, New Zealand is really far ahead for its size, but in areas like insurance, we’ve been left behind. But there’s a lot of talent in New Zealand that’re ready to help us catch up,” programme manager Rosie Wall says.
“We’d love to see New Zealand get established as a fintech hub.”
It’s one month left till Demo Day, and Wall says the teams are progressing really well.
Up till now, the focus in the accelerator has been on the products teams are developing and refining their ideas.
However, as they move into the final month, the focus will shift to investment – developing their pitch, how they should tell their stories, and how they can get people behind them and their ideas.
“It’s a really intense time for them, but they’ve been developing so well and they’re building a lot of connections in their industry.”
Most of the startups chosen for the accelerator are in their early stages, just coming into their seed round.
“The greatest thing about where they are in their journey is their enthusiasm for their ideas, they’re so coachable right now,” Wall says.
These pitches need to be on form in time for Demo Day on May 19 – where they will get the opportunity to present their ideas major players in the financial ecosystem and fintech software companies.
On why programmes like Kiwibank’s accelerator are important, Wall says “Accelerators provide a very safe space to de-risk your venture.”
“At the end of three months, you really know whether it will fail or fly,” she adds.