Demand from startups eager to be a part of Stone & Chalk, the $2 million Sydney CBD financial tech hub backed by a who’s who of finance, has forced it to move to bigger premises before it even opens.
Originally slated for a May opening in a 1,230sqm space in Clarence Street, with room for 150 entrepreneurs, Stone & Chalk will now open in July at 50 Bridge Street in Sydney’s CBD, with nearly double the original office space at 2300sqm and the capacity to house up to 200 entrepreneurs in a combination of dedicated labs, with full and part-time desks, secure offices and casual “drop in” spaces. There’s also room to expand another 50%.
The concept is based on providing low-cost services, such as subsidised working space, expertise and mentoring, as well as access to capital for startups.
Stone & Chalk CEO, Alex Scandurra said overwhelming demand led to a rethink on the space and the subsequent delay in getting the project off the ground.
“It was always a bold ambition – to create a physical fintech hub in Sydney within months of the venture’s announcement by NSW Premier Mike Baird. But none of us envisaged the overwhelming demand we’ve had from more than 350 fintech entrepreneurs for the 150 places initially on offer,” he said.
“Our primary aim is to facilitate and promote the development of a world-leading fintech start up community in Australia, and given the high volume and quality of start up applications, we felt that we needed to accommodate a larger number of entrepreneurs from day one. It’s an incredibly high class problem for us to have.”
Scandurra added that it’s still a hard push to meet the July opening deadline.
“We are a start up ourselves and are simultaneously building our own team, hub and proposition. We are also trying to review all the applications as best as we can and ask everyone to hang in there with us,” he said.
Support for the not-for-profit project, which began with 18 founding corporate partners including AMP, ANZ, KPMG, Macquarie Group and American Express, as well as NSW government backing, is also growing, with four new partners announced — the Australian Stock Exchange, IBM, TAL and Thomson Reuters.
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