KPMG Australia today unveiled the initial results from the KPMG Mutuals Fintech Accelerator program (mLabs), with a total of 18 active commercialisation opportunities being pursued, including two cross-sector collaborative initiatives, and 10 proof-of-concept projects already underway.
The mLabs program, launched in August this year, was a market-first corporate fintech accelerator connecting forward-thinking mutual Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) with some of Australia’s most exciting fintech ventures.
The accelerator included seven Australian mutual banks and credit unions: Beyond Bank, CUA, Greater Bank, Heritage Bank, IMB Bank, Police Bank, and Teachers Mutual Bank.
Incorporating best practices from design thinking, startup incubators, lean methodologies and corporate innovation labs, the program was designed to help the mutuals to work closely with the fintech startups to ideate new solutions, test assumptions and co-create and prototype products and services. Alongside 14 fintech startups, the mutuals followed a 12-week structured program providing access to expertise from KPMG mentors and industry advisors such as Chris Whitehead, recently appointed CEO of Finsia, as well as Leona Murphy, previously Head of Strategy for IAG, and Andrew Davis, formerly Payments and Cash Management Innovation leader for HSBC.
James Mabbott, Head of KPMG Innovate, commented: “Established and traditional industries often struggle with adapting to the pace of change. mLabs has been an experiment in making this possible. By focusing on a collaborative approach to innovation, we have demonstrated what can be achieved by connecting best-in-class startups with established market players.”
“The outcomes speak for themselves: We identified 18 qualified collaboration opportunities between the fintechs and mutuals and 10 are already happening.”
Ian Pollari, Global Co-Lead for KPMG’s Fintech practice, added: “Bringing together leading mutuals and fintech ventures to solve the ‘here and now’ problems, as well as explore emerging areas of opportunities, such as blockchain, wearables and data analytics was exciting for everyone to be a part of.”
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with this year’s mLabs participants to support them through execution of their proof of concepts and have already started planning for next year’s program.”
The program saw many of the seven mutual banks and credit union participants engage directly with fintech startup to co-create products and apply new ways of thinking to their business.
CUA Chief Digital Officer, Sue Coulter, said: “The mlabs experience has given us some further valuable insight into the unique, accelerated process of prototyping new products and services. The program was also an excellent opportunity to work with startups who continue to challenge financial institutions to ‘lift their game’ and provide fresh ideas around products and services that cater to customers’ needs.”
Heritage Bank CEO, Peter Lock, commented: “The mLabs program has given Heritage Bank exposure to innovative technology with the potential to help us provide a better customer experience and improve our operations. It was great to go through the program with other mutual organisations, and it soon became clear we all share common pain points and issues. The structure of the program, and the support from KPMG, ensured we came away with excellent outcomes.”
“As a result of the program, we’ve partnered with four fintech companies to validate their capabilities and look at implementing their technology within Heritage Bank,” he said.
The fintech startups participants were curated by KPMG and selected based on input from mutuals around areas ripe for innovation.
Mario Hasanakos, Co-founder of Spriggy, a Sydney-based startup that helps parents teach kids about money using prepaid cards and purpose-built mobile apps, said: “mLabs has connected us with a number of mutuals, and we are currently working on several pilot projects which could see our technology help hundreds of thousands of families.”
Ruth Hatherley, Founder of MoneyCatcha, a Perth-headquartered startup using blockchain to revolutionise the mortgage loan origination process, commented: “Working alongside the mutuals has allowed us to rapidly accelerate the development of our product, and to stress-test our assumptions of what our clients need. It has been an invaluable process for us and we are gearing up to launch a proof-of-concept in the coming weeks.”
The KPMG Mutuals Fintech Accelerator is expected to return in 2017.
Head of Communications, KPMG
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