CommBank’s venture scaler platform, x15ventures, says it supports entrepreneurs to meet the regulatory, risk and compliance challenges that come with scale.
Entering into its second year of operation, x15 claims it will launch at least 25 businesses by 2024, across housing and rental, modern living, digital and data-enabled businesses and marketplaces.
According to Supun King-Jayawardana, Head of Strategy & Operations at x15, “What we are trying to do is to create an experience for our ventures that is as aligned to a startup experience as possible.
“We will provide you a set of core technology services — whether it be infrastructure, whether it be common standard tools — so that on day one you can actually start focussing on your business and working like you would in a Wework, for example.”
Beyond providing the tools, x15 provides the expertise. Where startups and scaleups may not have access to legal, finance, cyber technology risk and compliance services, they can leverage the specialised skills of the x15 team to assist them in driving scale.
According to Toby Norton-Smith, Managing Director at x15, providing capital is only the first step in supporting a venture.
“Writing a cheque to invest in a venture is actually one of the easiest things you can do in corporate venturing. What’s much harder to do is to point to and very
explicitly deliver a benefit to that venture — be it getting them really technically scalable and regulatory safe so that they can scale and not have a hiccup down the track,” says Norton-Smith.
Home-in, a service that digitises the home buying process by bringing together the lender, the conveyancer and the purchaser, is one of the ventures that has benefitted from its place in x15’s portfolio.
According to Yish Koh, Head of Portfolio at x15, Home-in has seen dramatic growth since it joined x15.
“When a customer has a preapproval for a home loan, they receive a notification through their app to say, register for Home-in. And since we’ve launched that, we’ve seen that there’s been a growth of ten times in the number of customers that have actually been signing up to Home-in and that’s on track to become 20 by the end of the financial year,” says Yish.
Hospo-tech business Doshii is another venture that claims it has grown at scale since joining x15. The platform grew 22 per cent in its first 16 weeks since the acquisition and, according to Justin O’Donnell, Managing Director at Doshii, the company has “moved past the startup stage into a maturity stage.”
“In the first ten weeks since the acquisition, we’ve signed three new partners, which gives us access to over ten thousand more venues in Australia. And as we work through our goal at the moment, which is all around making it simpler for venues, you’ll start to see that ten thousand number turn into hopefully around the 70 thousand number by the end of this year,” says O’Donnell.
x15 claims that it understands the challenges around bringing a large organisation like CBA and a startup together, and is working to get that “unique handshake” right.
“We want to make sure that we treat each venture differently, but at the same time, we can get comfortable with the risk requirements associated with running Doshii versus Payable versus other ventures and do that in a way that’s right-sized,” says King-Jayawardana.