For the newest addition to Fintech Australia’s board, the name of the game is helping WA find its place.
Tim Dean, founder and CEO of relationship-based lending app Credi, will join the board of Fintech Australia following CrowdfundUP founder Jack Quigley’s departure.
Fintech Australia is the fintech industry’s national body, providing everything from networking to advocacy.
Tim said he’s hoping to help WA fintechs, who according to EY currently make up 9% of the industry nationally, carve out their own niche.
“[I’ll] be meeting in August [with the CEO of Fintech Australia] to nut out a whole bunch of initiatives that bring fintech in Western Australia into the fold on a more inclusive basis, but also … to develop some initiatives that give fintech WA its own identity,” he said.
“Having an identity is useful because everyone needs a role to play, and it can be a home for a relationship with Asia, then that suddenly can build as a core strength to its offering.”
With Credi now in its fourth year, Tim said he’s well aware of the problems geography presents WA-based fintechs.
“The challenge that businesses over here face is that a disproportionate amount of their client base, and the groups that have head offices, or corporations that have regional or national offices – these tend not to be in WA.
“People locate themselves proximitous to the greater population, so its centres such as Melbourne, Sydney and obviously Brisbane (that are) where the action is,” he said.
“So, the challenge faced is that if you wanted to create strategic relationships, you’re not where the head office is, and you’ve got to find a way to bridge that.”
Tim said one way for WA to grow its share of the pie was to become a hub for Australia-Asia relations.
“We have a great advantage here in that our time zone is exactly the same as Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said.
“The whole Australia-Asia relationship doesn’t only need to be through minerals, I think it can be through technology and that means Aussie fintechs seeking opportunities in these territories.
“I do see a number of fintechs already looking to financial centres such as Singapore as markets for their products, and equally for investment, so I think, again, play to the strengths of geography, play to the time zones and work on that basis.”
That’s not the state’s only option though, according to Tim, who said he’ll be working to make sure WA plays a bigger role in all areas of the industry.
“What Fintech Australia can do as a group is it can form relationships at a government and federal and state level, and it can also, through collaboration, get access through national events where organisations will group,” he said.
“It’s simply us being part of making sure that WA fintechs are part of a bigger conversation piece, and it’s the access point through networking with like-minded companies.
“You can’t overcome the geographic constraints, but you can make it easier to get in touch with people, and you can make it easier to be available if you’re travelling over East.”
Tim said the opportunity was his way of giving back to the ever-growing fintech community in Australia.
“If you’re in an industry, especially financial services, where there are regulatory impacts that affect you either directly or indirectly, then there’s no point in complaining about it if you haven’t taken the time to be part of it,” he said.
“As a fintech business owner, it’s always important to have access to any advocacy groups that are in your space.
“I suppose I work on the basis that if you are in something, you should also be prepared to contribute to both your good and everyone else’s as well.”
As for Credi, Tim said everything’s on the up-and-up.
“We’ve got people using our platform in 27 countries, although Australia is our focus for now and the next twelve months,” he said.
“We’re now moving into our revenue phase, so we are starting to generate cash flows which is good, and that will accelerate as we deliver our loan management solutions to professional advisors, accountants and so forth.
“We are in the process of strengthening our board and have some exciting announcements to follow shortly.
“We are currently undertaking our first major capital raising, which we expect to complete in the next couple of weeks, which will give us the resource to develop our product and channel strategy faster in Australia and internationally.
“We are beyond happy with the last twelve months, and look forward with some great excitement to the new financial year ahead.”
To learn more about Fintech Australia, click here. Tim Dean is also the co-founder of ThinkLab Coworking, a sponsor of Startup News.