IAG is the latest big Australian company to create a startup funding unit

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Insurance Australia Group wants to modernise its platforms by establishing a fund to buy stakes in disruptive technology companies.

The new startup fund will be placed inside IAG Ventures, the innovation unit first created in 2014 by the company. IAG’s board is expected to announce how much it wants to spend on the investments as well as the funding model by April.

IAG is also partnering with Braintree, the payments platform owned by PayPal to modernise its its payment technologies for some new insurance products. The company’s new ShareCover, which was created as insurance for those who rent their houses on the likes of Airbnb is using Braintree as its payment platform.

Many of Australia’s biggest companies have set up corporate venture units in the last couple of years as industries evolve, particularly in the telco space.

Telstra has been the biggest player here, looking to move the company away from being just a telco into an innovation company. It has two seperate arms in which it invests, with Telstra Ventures focusing on later staged startups such as Bigcommerce, Ooyala and Box, with Muru-D as its startup accelerator. Just this month, it was announced that Muru-D was partnering with Israeli accelerator The Junction, opening up more investment opportunities for local startups.

Also in the telco space, Optus runs a $150 million seed funding program called Innov8 which has been extremely active since launching in 2012.

AMP Ventures, which was established in 2014 has also taken stakes in two fintech startups, Macrovue and MoneyBrilliant while NAB Ventures launched a $50 million fund last year to invest in startups.

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