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Our fintech highlights from 2019

Posted 6 months ago in Xero news by Chris Barton
Posted by Chris Barton

As we near the end of another big year for fintech in New Zealand, we wanted to recognise some of the highlights from 2019.

Finnotec, New Zealand’s annual Fintech event was a fitting finale. Bringing together passionate minds from the financial technology world, this event is all about collaborating on the future of fintech in NZ. 

Xero was a gold sponsor, and we presented on the API economy and how to create a commercially loveable platform. Platforms don’t exist without partnerships – and it was clear from other speakers and attendees that collaboration between incumbents and fintechs is gaining traction. Lewis Billinghurst of Westpac Ventures echoed this as he talked about the bank’s focus on innovation and new partnership opportunities like their joint venture with Xero app partner, Aider

Another highlight was announcing the winner of the Xero start-up pitch competition. Huge congratulations to Transactional AI who provide data science services to banks to help them better understand their customers’ needs. 

Fostering start-up growth 

It’s been a big year for start-ups at Xero. We opened our co-working space Rewired in our Auckland office, which is now home to more than 100 people working in start-ups. A lot of these are fintech start-ups and the proximity to the Xero team has yielded some awesome results. 

These include: 

  • Our payment partner, Go Cardless, winning Xero App Partner of the Year 
  • Launching a buy now pay later integration with Zip 
  • Collaborating with SMB lender, Spotcap, to enable better access to capital for Xero’s SMB customers. 

We also partnered with Kiwibank to deliver the Kiwi Fintech Accelerator. Over three months, 12 teams were supported by industry experts to design innovative financial services. During the process, they strengthen their business for future growth. Congratulations to Fund a Future for winning the programme’s People’s Choice Award. 

NZ joins the Open Banking party

The UK has been a trailblazer when it comes to Open Banking, but in New Zealand we have been quick to adopt our own industry standards. 

Xero joined the newly formed API Centre earlier this year as a Standards User. Together with our banking partners and other fintechs, we contributed to the release of NZ’s first Open Banking APIs.

The industry-led approach is a great reflection on what Kiwis can achieve together. We’ve made great progress compared to other regions who are dependent on legislation or incumbents who have been slow to change. It’s important to acknowledge the team at Payments NZ for their leadership in driving this progress.

In a similar vein, FintechNZ recently facilitated its first regulatory roundtable with broad consensus to enable more collaboration between government, regulators and industry to support the growth of the fintech industry. 

The changing fintech landscape

The banking world has seen a huge amount of disruption this year from customer expectations, fintechs and regulators. We are now starting to see some exciting banking and fintech partnerships evolve – watch this space in 2020. 

Kudos to Kiwibank for embracing digital payments and going cheque-free in February 2020. Xero customers should update their payment terms and check out the different invoice payment services in the Xero app marketplace.  

Another exciting development was the launch of e-invoicing in NZ. This is a simple but crucial innovation that will help small businesses get paid faster. Xero Small Business Insights data shows cashflow and late invoice payments have held or improved during 2019, compared to 2018. This improvement is partly due to the adoption of digital invoicing and invoice payment services. We expect the number of days late an invoice is paid to reduce even more when e-invoicing is rolled out. 

FintechNZ reported earlier this month that NZ is emerging as one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing Fintech hubs

The future looks promising with supportive regulators, engaged and innovative banks, and a growing depth of dynamic fintech players.

We would encourage any fintechs focused on small business solutions to get in touch to explore partnership opportunities or access our developer resources

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