Most fintech start-ups are lean operations, with relatively small numbers of staff, but a big vision. The Census underlines the importance of strong support networks beyond the founder, the board (if there is one) and investors. The ability to effectively leverage peer and industry support is imperative.
Again, this year, we explore the use of accelerators / incubators and co-working spaces with Australian fintechs.
The power of hubs... Accelerators and incubators are considered an important contributor to the success of the fintech industry in Australia by 69% of Census participants (up from 60% in 2017). Hubs provide the fintech start-ups with important formal support, but just as invaluable is the ability to connect with others in a less formal environment. Users of hubs and co-working spaces describe the workplaces as a source of ideas, experience, insights, expertise, accommodation and support. However, they haven't cut through to all. One in two fintech start-ups surveyed (50%) have “never used a shared workspace”. In the interviews conducted with founders (majority working in Hubs), all were positive about being able to work in the space that “fosters creativity and innovation among like-minded people”.
Lower cap firms more reliant... Typical usage of co-working spaces is more limited among fintechs that have raised in excess of $5m of capital to date or are more than five years old. Most of the larger firms have spent time in / around the established hubs and have graduated as they have evolved to lease their own offices, having surpassed their initial requirements for co-working spaces.
High usage among the converted... Hubs are accessed on average more than twice a week, with three in ten fintechs accessing hubs between five and seven times a week. Frequency of usage of co-working spaces is higher among fintechs based in Victoria – not surprising given the creation of two fintech / innovation hubs in Victoria in the last 12 months. The co-location of existing hubs and accelerators to the Sydney Startup Hub, which includes a fintech hub and a number of technology start-up hubs and accelerator programs, has also been greeted very positively. The impact of State Governments’ supporting the creation of innovation hubs that are used, not just by fintech, but by broader technology start-ups is profound, cascading through the entire ecosystem.
As the fintech industry has evolved, fintechs have become more positive about the role of government. This year, fintech leaders were less likely to agree the Australian Government isn’t as supportive of the fintech industry than governments of some other countries (down to 45% v 60% three years ago). Clearly, the role of the government in helping to create the right environment is resonating.
FinTech Australia membership
Number of employees
Use of co-working space
Q4. How many days a week do you typically use a co-working space?
Base: All respondents (n=)
Accelerators / Incubators are an important contributor to the success of the fintech industry in Australia
Q27. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? - Accelerators / Incubators are an important contributor to the success of the Fintech industry in Australia