Eight Australian startup teams will be given the opportunity to participate in a three-month accelerator program aimed at finding solutions for specific customer problems with the use of data sets.
This program has been made possible by Westpac through their partnership with Stone & Chalk, Data Republic, ReInventure and Amazon Web Services. The data utilized in the program is considered by these institutions to be the fuel for the future with the potential to solve a myriad of business and consumer problems. This belief led to the program being appropriately titled FUELD.
It’s great to see a big four bank investing in the future, innovation, and startups. Devika also shares Westpac’s passion in these areas and this is one of the reasons why we are so excited to be involved in the program. It means a lot for us to be a part of this endeavor through building FUELD’s website ahead of its first term.
Westpac has a long history of innovation as they are Australia's first and oldest bank, established in 1817. Their first employee was Joseph Hyde Potts, a porter, and servant who received a weekly ration from the King's stores and an annual salary of 25 pounds. Westpac has grown leaps and bounds from 1817 to remain one of Australia’s largest financial institutions today.
FUELD’s entrepreneurial teams will work out of Sydney with office space provided by Stone & Chalk, the largest FinTech Hub in Australia. The not-for-profit organization has a give first philosophy, which is shown by the fact that they don’t take equity in the startups they support. Stone & Chalk’s culture and outlook have ensured them support from 24 large national and international corporations and governments.
Alex Scandurra, the CEO of Stone & Chalk, has described Westpac’s approach to innovation as “open and mature” with the aim of benefitting the participating startups and Westpac’s customers.
While working out of the space in Sydney, participants will be able to leverage experience with and mentorship from the co-founders of ReInventure, Westpac’s venture capital firm. This will provide the startups with advice on how to both identify opportunity and scale their ideas.
The FUELD accelerator program also involves a 12-week program with Murray Hurps, former CEO of Fishburners and co-founder of Startup Muster. This mentorship intends to support the program’s startups by taking their concepts to the next level. Cloud computing provider Amazon Web Services will also provide up to $1000,000 in hosting to support the program.
Essentially, Westpac’s objective is to provide startups with an unprecedented amount of data, which guarantees small entrepreneurial teams the resources to rapidly develop, test and launch a commercial product. This could mean that solutions are executed back into the business and commercialized in a matter of months due to the acceleration provided by the data and resources of FUELD.
The data for this industry-first accelerator program will be provided by Data Republic. Data Republic is a platform and marketplace which allows organizations to list, exchange and collaborate with data in a secure environment. Data Republic will supply participants with data from organizations such as Westpac, as well as from retailers, insurers, and automotive businesses that are in the Data Republic ecosystem. They aim to harness this anonymized, tokenized data to create new data-driven products to help further push Australia into the future. Importantly, no personal information will be accessed or shared as a part of Data Republic’s standard terms.
The participants of FUELD will also receive $50,000 of investment through a SAFE note and be given networking opportunities with the Westpac Group's experts and customers. While the program is set to run twice a year, applications for the inaugural term close on October 30th. So make sure you apply before then.