New Zealand is aiming to become the world’s leading digital nation and Kiwibank Digital Advisor Peter Fletcher-Dobson shares why fintech will play a massive role in making this goal a reality.
"New Zealand is a great place to do business, especially the digital kind. We are ranked the easiest place in the world to start a business (World Bank), the least corrupt place in the world (Transparency International) and we’re in the top three global digital economies (Tuft’s University).
The Government, under Government Digital Service Minister Clare Curran, is going full-bore on maximising the opportunities of the digital economy, improving digital inclusion, and closing the digital divide to ensure New Zealanders have digital skills. Minister Curran has established a Government CTO role and appointed a stellar advisory board of Kiwi digital experts.
Hi tech is the countries third biggest export earner – generating $6.3b exports (equivalent to the meat industry) – and $32.2 billion in total output according to the NZ Tech Association.
But the most exciting statistic to my mind is that small improvements in tech sector performance have resulted in an astounding impact to the total economy.
Just a four per cent productivity improvement is estimated to produce $2.7 billion in GDP growth according to NZ Tech.
Compared to primary industries, hi-tech has a low impact on the environment and can be based anywhere – which is great news for the regions.
Within the NZ hi-tech sector, fintech has emerged in the last few years to be a fast mover, and potentially the engine room to take New Zealand’s digital economy to the next level.
New Zealand’s fintech sector is growing faster than anywhere else – showing an astonishing 48.5 per cent growth. FinTechNZ says the global average is 31 to 33 per cent.
FintechNZ General Manager James Brown says it’s due to New Zealand’s unique advantages of Kiwi companies having close working relationships with regulators, and a well-connected, vibrant ecosystem that brings the large banks, the start-ups, and the government together.
Kiwibank’s Fintech Accelerator, the first in New Zealand, has played a major part in launching rapid growth companies like Sharesies.
This year nine companies will be pitching their products at a Demo Day in Wellington on May 16 - several have already raised significant investment.
This year’s Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator cohort has already attracted international interest, with investor teams even flying in from overseas for the private investor pitch session on May 16, happening before the public pitch event that evening. It’s likely that investments levels will be seven figures-plus.
As well as bringing together industry sponsors Ando, Deloitte, Mastercard, NCR, and Simmonds Stewart the accelerator has also seen unique partnerships with Datacom and Centrality - a Kiwi blockchain company who raised NZ$100m in 6 minutes, and whose token is valued at $300m by CoinMarketCap.
The combination of a great environment to do business, a digital savvy nation, and a solid ecosystem is positioning New Zealand fintech to take pole position in driving the digital economy.
Investment in fintech globally hit a record $27.4billion in 2017 according to Accenture and is predicted to reach $150 billion in the next few years.
New Zealand is absolutely poised to punch well above its weight on the fintech stage, and it’s exciting to see what the future holds for our Accelerator teams."
For more information on how you can get involved with FinTech and the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator, check out nzfintech.kiwi.