Australian fintech leader warns there will be 'consolidation' among startups

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Australian fintech has celebrated the latest industry census results that show an ecosystem maturing, but one of its leaders has warned that also means startup mergers would follow.

FinTech Australia, at its annual Intersekt festival in Melbourne on Friday, revealed in its census results that the industry now generally had startups more mature than a year ago, and that a median 208% revenue growth was showing mainstream acceptance of non-bank alternatives.

This, accompanied with an increased desire for fintechs to expand overseas, showed the industry was in an exciting stage but FinTech Australia president Simon Cant warned that consolidation would follow.

“I think when you’re starting a new venture you have to have real focus. But over time working out what’s a sustainable model is asking how many revenue arms do we need to have to make this business sustainable?” he told the audience at the Collab/Collide Summit at Intersekt.

“And sometimes that does involve multiple different product focuses coming together. If you look at companies like Zip[Money] for example, they acquired Pocketbook, and it’s become an essential part of their business. I think those sorts of stories won’t be uncommon – and not a bad thing.”

A lack of funding was a concern raised by 25% of fintech startups in the census, with 61% complaining that their capital raising round had not met their expectations.

Cant, who is also managing director at fintech investment house Reinventure, said this perception of tightening of investment was another growing pain for a maturing industry – but didn’t match the reality.

“There’s no doubt as fintechs mature there is kind of a funneling. Only a few really start to make it to scale. I think that can manifest as a people experiencing [lack of] funding as a barrier,” he said.

“The reality is the actual levels of current funding has actually risen a bit this year. The more mature fintechs are starting to grow.”

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