As part of the Kiwi Fintech Accelerator, we hosted the Startup Challenge in our new coworking space, Rewired. The day was facilitated by Creative HQ, where 30 fintech fanatics came in to pitch their ideas with a chance to bring them to life through support from the fintech community.
After some icebreakers to start the day, and individuals pitching their ideas, the teams were formed based on skills, experience and passion for the idea. They worked through a validation process to firm up their proposition for the rest of the day, with help from Creative HQ, Xero and Kiwibank mentors and coaches. The second day was focused on fine-tuning a minimum viable product, and preparing a final pitch for judges. This had some teams roaming Parnell talking to local businesses, and other teams surveying people on their power sourcing thoughts – there was a real buzz for early on a Sunday morning.
The participants were made up of real mix of backgrounds and skills including students, developers and people from the fintech and financial services community. Several of the teams that were formed applied to the Kiwi Fintech Accelerator programme. The event was judged by Valerie Walshe – Director of Brand and Marketing, Xero, Elliot Smith – Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Kiwibank, and Sam Stubbs – Managing Director, Simplicity Kiwisaver. They were joined by facilitators, mentors, eager onlookers and venture capitalists searching for the next unicorn.
With good energy in the room and pressure to deliver results, there was a high engagement from all of the participants. We fostered a safe and fun environment where everyone could share their ideas and provide collective input to fine tune them. There was a lot of strong interest in open banking, open data and how to partner with Xero and Kiwibank.
The final pitches that came out the event event were:
- Trace your Trade – the winning team proposal was based on a platform that assessed Kiwisaver funds investment portfolios for ethical and responsible investment, and provided consumers with details regarding their investments. For example – fossil fuels, alcohol, tobacco, ammunition, to name a few.
- Dollars for Data – a loyalty scheme that utilised a consumers transactional data to provide cash rebates from participating retailers.
- D2Smart – providing banks with customer insights based on their transactional history to assist with selling home loan products.
- Ohm – a proposal that involves a social investment fund purchasing large power storage batteries and using block chain and algorithms to purchase and store power from the wholesale electrical market.
Trace your Trade took out the top prize because they identified an unsolved customer problem with high demand, worked through a detailed validation process, created a prototype, and displayed the most potential in terms of scalability and commercial success.
With the pitches presented with passion and charisma in the true nature of a startup weekend, the day was a huge success and has everyone at Xero excited for what the Kiwi Fintech Accelerator program has in store in July.