Westpac has partnered with Australia’s leading fintech innovation hub Stone & Chalk to launch FUELD, a data accelerator. The goal is to connect early-stage startup teams to a range of powerful data-sets on Data Republic’s data-sharing platform, allowing them to solve customer and business problems across a range of industries, through data innovation.
Founding teams can apply to join the intensive, three-month program to create new products or materially enhance existing products, and solve a range of real customer problems. The successful startup teams will have access to the full variety of rich data sets available on the Data Republic platform, including access to Westpac’s anonymous, aggregated transactional data.
Westpac’s venture capital firm Reinventure will be providing their commercial expertise and mentorship, with Amazon Web Services providing infrastructure and support as part of their Activate initiative. Murray Hurps, former CEO of Fishburners, will be running the Fueld program, bringing his experience in the Australian startup community.
Westpac’s Co-Head of Business Development, Macgregor Duncan, said FUELD is the first accelerator of its kind to enable large data-sets to be used to create new data products designed to solve specific problems for industry and the public sector.
“Fueld is an Australian-first, giving entrepreneurs access to the scale and depth of Westpac data, as well as the support and mentorship of established organisations. We anticipate the outcomes of FUELD will offer customers tailored solutions, as well as offering data innovation which can be applied more broadly to a wide range of customers and industries.”
Stone & Chalk CEO, Alex Scandurra, said that startups and corporates stand to greatly benefit by partnering with one another. Corporates can provide startups with growth opportunities as customers or large scale distributors, and startups can provide corporates with innovative new solutions, which can help improve customer experience and open up new market adjacencies.
“Westpac are one of the Founding Partners of Stone & Chalk and it’s great to see a large Australian bank take such an open and mature approach to innovation. We are delighted to be partnering together on what is going to be such a game changing opportunity for startups and scaleups.”
Scandurra said it is the first time that startups have the opportunity to work closely with a large potential corporate customer and have access to rich data sets with which to rapidly develop, test and commercially launch a new product.
“The exciting prospect of FUELD is, once problem statements are defined, they can be solved in a matter of months, executed back into the business, and commercialised to ensure the future success of the startup.”
Reinventure Co-Founder and Managing Director, Danny Gilligan, said, “This is not a traditional accelerator. It’s unique to have this much infrastructure built and ready to go, offering entrepreneurs the ability to produce amazing data-driven innovation very quickly and cheaply, with access to unique data, and customers with an identified need.”
Data Republic co-founder and CEO, Paul McCarney, said, “Corporates don’t have a monopoly on great ideas, but they do often control the types of data which underpin product innovation. To have a major bank, like Westpac, contribute their data for up-and-coming startups to really innovate on products and customer problems is something totally unique to Fueld.
“Unlocking the potential of data is something we’re very passionate about at Data Republic, so I’m pleased our secure data exchange platform is being used to make this accelerator possible.”