After leading Barclay’s accelerator program in the UK, Australian-born Alex Scandurra has returned home to head up Sydney’s new financial technology co-working space Stone & Chalk.
Last month, Stone & Chalk announced its 1,230 square metre space on Clarence Street, Sydney and revealed former AMP CEO Craig Dunn would chair the initiative. With a strong fintech environment in London, Dunn hopes Scandurra will help propel the local ecosystem.
“Alex is an ideal candidate for the job, given his unique leadership role in helping UK fintech start-ups and bringing about the Barclays fintech initiative with Techstars in London. London provides an excellent role model for Sydney to emulate – and Alex brings an invaluable understanding of this market, including a network of strong global relationships to help Australian fintech entrepreneurs,” he said.
While in the UK Scandurra co-founded Barclay’s internal accelerator program and founded the Open Innovation Program which saw hundreds of start-ups pitch to win pilot projects with large organisations.
The UK government has been a big supporter of fintech and has established its own strong ecosystem.
But before his career at Barclays, Scandurra started his professional life in the Australian Army. He has since clocked up seven years at Nokia, working in the Middle East and Africa as the head of infrastructure sharing. He was also a senior project engineer for Lend Lease.
“Over the last 5 years, I’ve worked closely with a lot of fintech start-ups across multiple regions and industries,” Scandurra said.
“Whilst local conditions tend to differ, I’ve found that the needs of entrepreneurs are universal irrespective of whether they come from places as different as Singapore, New York, London or Sydney. As an Australian, it is a fantastic time to return home and help drive the success and momentum of our fintech community, utilising my experience helping fintech companies in London.”
After receiving more than 120 applications ranging from startups in peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, investment advice, payments, insurance, crypto-currencies and capital markets, to use the fintech hub, Stone & Chalk is confident it could expand to over 3,000 square metres in time.
Dunn was also a member of the federal government’s financial system inquiry which, amongst other ideas, recommended closer collaboration between the financial industry, government, regulators and startups to drive innovation.
Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD is also the location of Tyro’s fintech space which will host 125 entrepreneurs working in startups taking on the big banks.
When doors open in coming months, Stone & Chalk will offer hot and fixed desks, offices and drop-in spaces, as well as provide space to host meet-ups, events, investor days and master classes. Corporate startup teams will also be able to work alongside startups and other partners.
Sponsoring the space are some big names from corporate Australia including Amazon, American Express, AMP, ANZ, HSBC, Intel, KPMG, Macquarie Bank, Westpac and Woolworths.
While none of the corporate sponsors will have access to the startup’s IP they will be allocated space at the hub and startups can decide for themselves whether they engage with the companies.