Newfound drives new FinTech market access


David McClure
Contributor

Financial communications surveillance and a bank-linked ethical spending app were among the FinTech pitches from around the world at the recent Newfound Market Mission to Australia event.

The inaugural Newfound Market Mission to Australia for FinTechs concluded with a pitchfest from 18 rising FinTechs from UK, NZ, Sweden and India. The two-week virtual event featured more than 50 speakers including Senator Jane Hume, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology.

Topics covered government policy and FinTech regulations such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s new regulatory sandbox and the Consumer Data Right legislation. The FinTechs at the pitchfest were CoGo, Finstant ltd, Bambu, First AML, Intellect Design Arena, Meeco.me, Railsbank, PocketSmith, Signly, and VoxSmart.

Ben Gleisner and Adrienne Muir
CoGo chief executive Ben Gleisner and VoxSmart COO Adrienne Muir

Adrienne Muir, chief operating officer at VoxSmart pitched the UK-based capital-markets communications surveillance specialist to the market mission.

VoxSmart has been around since 2010 when it began offering its mobile voice recording technology to financial markets participants but hit its stride in 2014 with fresh funding and a change of leadership.

In 2020, the company has been surging with triple digit growth rates and embarked on a large Series B funding round. This follows the acquisition of the communications surveillance and trade reconstruction capability from Fonetic.

Ms Muir, a Kiwi expat, joined VoxSmart as chief operating officer in 2017, when the firm had 10 people. Its roster has now grown to 70.

Messing up regulatory compliance can be expensive and hugely damaging to a finance outfit’s reputation. Just ask Westpac which in September agreed to pay a record $1.3 billion fine to settle a lawsuit accusing it of enabling millions of payments to people exploiting children.

Ms Muir used the Westpac experience in her three-minute pitch to potential investors and customers.

“Recently you would have seen in Australia and New Zealand, banks being fined millions of dollars for breaches,” Ms Muir said.

“We’ve seen fines, prosecutions, and misconduct charges over the last 10 years. At VoxSmart our tech is solving the problem around transparency of this communication,” she said.

“We’ve developed cutting edge tech to monitor communication and financial services across mobile, instant message, e-comms, voice and trade reconstruction.”

Asked during her post-pitch Q&A session how VoxSmart handles changing data privacy requirements within its global customer base, Ms Muir said the firms chief information security officer and chief technology officer worked closely to avoid privacy right breaches and closely monitored data location.

“All our data is stored with AWS. You have a choice of having your data deployed onsite, or within the cloud.”

CoGo chief executive Ben Gleisner is another New Zealander who went to the UK to work with its open banking regime. Now he is a repat, rather than Kiwi expat after deciding in March to bring his family back to New Zealand as COVID-19 surged through the UK.

The CoGo app works by linking its users’ ethical preferences such as living wage companies or having a low carbon footprint to their bank accounts so they can accurately track their spending habits and match their spending to their ethical goals.

“CoGo is in the market of supporting what is a massive opportunity in terms of consumers wanting to put their money where their heart is and spend with businesses that are taking action on issues that they care about,” said Mr Gleisner during his three-minute pitch to the Market Mission audience.

“Unilever estimated a per annum trillion-dollar market opportunity for businesses that can be more sustainable. Many brands across the world are making efforts to try and align themselves to these customers.”

CoGo is hopeful of securing deals with ANZ-based banks in the near future.

Startup and scaleup hub provider Stone & Chalk helped Newfound bring the FinTech Market Mission to Australia. Stone & Chalk head of partnerships Gemma Cosgriff said, “In our mission to connect Australian emerging technology companies to talent, capital, expertise, customers and mentors, it’s important to build two-way relationships with technology communities across the globe.”

“Our partnership with Newfound allows us to participate in trans-national innovation exchange that benefits Australian and global startups, as well as the corporate partners in our impact network.”

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