#72 Lizzie Chapman, Zest Money

Dexter Cousins is joined by the remarkable Lizzie Chapman CEO & Co-Founder of ZestMoney – India’s first and largest AI-Driven, digital financing platform.

Lizzie Chapman is a leading figure in the fintech landscape of India. She has been instrumental in driving the adoption of digital finance and financial inclusion initiatives in the country. 

Lizzie’s vision is to make life affordable to more than 300 million households that are currently ignored by traditional providers.

India is on a path to becoming the most significant market for Fintech, globally. With a population of 1.4bn, less than 40% smartphone penetration, and only 25 million people with a credit card, India is primed for Fintech.

About Zest Money

ZestMoney has built a platform that can meaningfully improve the lives of more than 300 million households who currently have no access to credit cards or other formal financing options because of insufficient credit history.

Lizzie’s Background

Lizzie started her career as an Investment Manager with the Wellcome Trust, where she invested in financial services companies in India. She then worked with Goldman Sachs in London before moving to India in 2011 to set-up and spearhead the India operations for digital lender Wonga, one of the biggest fintech companies in the world at that point.

Lizzie serves on the boards of IndiaMart (India’s Alibaba) and IndiaQuotient (early-stage investment fund). She is a founding member and serves on the Executive Committee of the Digital Lending Association of India.

She was honoured with the ‘Female Fintech Leader’ award in 2017 and in 2019 was as recognised among “Linkedin Top Voices 2019: Finance & Economy” globally.

Follow Lizzie on Linkedin

Find out more about Zest Money

#71 Nathan Walsh & Michael Starkey, Athena Home Loans

In episode #71 Dexter Cousins chats to Nathan and Michael as they celebrate the 2nd birthday of Athena’s launch.

Athena is on a mission to save Australians a whole lot of money and help pay off their home loan faster. Founded in June 2017 to revolutionise the home loan industry and make it better in every way, Athena built an innovative digital home loan platform to deliver savings to borrowers, backed by local home loan experts.

Athena is backed by Australia’s leading investors, including AirTree Ventures, AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Macquarie Bank and Square Peg. 

Athena has been the proud recipient for Finnies Emerging Fintech Organisation of the Year Award for 2 years in a row – 2019 and 2020.

Nathan Walsh
Co-founder & CEO, Athena Home Loans, Australia

Nathan Walsh, Athena’s Co-founder and CEO, is a fintech entrepreneur with over 20 years’ expertise in financial services, top-tier consulting and legal practice. Nathan is a former NAB executive who started his career with BCG before taking senior roles at Citi and NAB in wealth management. At NAB, Nathan founded Nabtrade and built it from an idea into a $40 billion platform over 7 years, winning multiple innovation awards along the way.

Follow Nathan on Linkedin

Michael Starkey

Co-founder & COO, Athena Home Loans, Australia

Michael Starkey, Athena’s Co-founder and COO, has an entrepreneurial background, having been the co-founder of iSelect in AU. He spent 7 years at NAB in personal banking, was a board member of the Australian Payments Council and ASX listed Homelands Ltd and former director of the New Payments Platform (Australia’s new real-time payments network).

Follow Michael on Linkedin

Find out more about Athena here

#69 Jason Pellegrino, Domain Group

Dexter Cousins is joined by Jason Pellegrino, CEO of Domain Group on the FinTech Australia Podcast.

You might be asking why a Real Estate listings platform is featuring on a Fintech podcast?

Tune in and find out why in this super interesting show as Jason shares the Domain Group strategy and their move into Fintech with Lendi and Limepay.

Jason spent 10 years with Google as Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand. As a member of the Asia-Pacific Regional Leadership Team, Jason held leadership positions across Sales, Operations and Strategy.

He shares his views on the role Big Tech is playing in the future of payments and financial services.

Prior to Google, Jason worked in several roles over 15 years spanning Corporate Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions and Finance at Dakota Capital Partners, LEK Consulting, PepsiCo International and KPMG.

Jason holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and an MBA (Distinction) from The London Business School.

Jason is a member of the Innovation Taskforce of the Business Council of Australia, a member of ASIC’s External Advisory Panel and a Board member of Plan International.

Find out more about Domain Home Loans

Follow Jason on Linkedin

#67 Toby Norton-Smith, X15 Ventures

Dexter Cousins is joined by Toby Norton-Smith to celebrate the 1st anniversary of x15 Ventures. 

x15 Ventures (the CVC arm of Commonwealth Bank) is a venture scaler focused on building, investing or acquiring ventures that can deliver the next generation of services in and around banking, advantaged through integration and support from CommBank. 

Toby launched x15 in 2020 and is currently the Managing Director. Prior to x15 Ventures, Toby was General Manager of Digital Growth at CBA, CEO of a fintech venture in the wealth space (StocksInValue), and commenced his career at McKinsey and Co.

Tune for a candid and insightful chat as Toby shares how he and the x15 team are taking a different approach to CVC.  

Toby also shares some exclusive news on the latest talent and venture acquisitions. Plus he gives his views on the future of Fintech and why banks need to focus on collaboration.

Follow Toby on Linkedin

Find out more about x15 Ventures

Listen to more episodes of the Fintech Australia Podcast

Marie Steinthaler -TrueLayer

I would define open banking as a manifestation of the belief that the data that you create when you bank is yours. So the information that you create, every time you pay for something, you send a payment, you use your banking services, that is your data, and you should be able to use that data to your benefit.

Marie Steinthaler – TrueLayer

Dexter Cousins speaks with Marie Steinthaler, VP Asia with Truelayer about Australia’s 1st July launch of CDR and open banking.

Marie can you tell us more about TrueLayer?

TrueLayer is a platform that provides global access to open banking. And what I mean by that is essentially a way for our clients to securely access their end users bank data, and payment capability through one normalised platform. And we do that by going out and finding the best banking API’s out there. We then normalise across many different countries, use cases, API protocols, you name it, and then package it up in a platform that our clients can build on top of and innovate on top of by using their customers banking data or payment rails.

For those that don’t know what open banking is, Could you give a brief overview for an everyday customer?

I would define open banking as a manifestation of the belief that the data that you create when you bank is yours. So the information that you create, every time you pay for something, you send a payment, you use your banking services, that is your data, and you should be able to use that data to your benefit. Whether that be better pricing, better access to products, verify certain things about your person that may otherwise be hard to verify. And to just make it very easy for you to be in control of how that data gets shared and how it gets used. 

The empowerment of the customer is very much at the heart of open banking. Beyond that, at an industry level, it’s about making the collaboration between financial institutions and fintechs more open and more focused around the customer. That’s at the heart of it. And TrueLayer was born to enable such a collaboration.

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You recently partnered with Revolut. How’s that going?

Yeah, going great. And we love working with Revolut and other internationally minded high growth, tech forward businesses. I like to call them an execution machine. They’re so good at putting new products out there and listening to their customers. They make it very easy for customers to adopt new things like open banking. And we’re excited about some of the new things they’re working on as well.

You are about to launch in Australia? What is it about Australia that’s attractive to TrueLayer?

We are building a global platform. So while we started in the UK and expanded to Europe, when we looked at the rest of the world, it was really a case of looking for markets where a few things are in place. One is a growing and well supported FinTech ecosystem. The second is regulators who are conducive and supportive of open banking, and want it to happen quickly. The third is our existing customers and if they want to expand to a region. 

Australia scores well for TrueLayer on all three criteria. And, as I’m sure you know, FinTech Australia, and organisations like that are testament to the growing ecosystem in the market. There’s also a huge amount of room for disruption. When you when you look at how profitable Australia is, as a market for financial services, as the saying goes your margin is my opportunity

Australia has had some very well documented trust issues with banks and a royal commission. What have you learned from open banking in the UK that you think Australia can action to really help push ahead?

One narrative I’ve heard in a lot of conversations with potential clients or people in the Australian ecosystem is sometimes a bit of impatience or disappointment with the speed of the development in Australia.

If the CDR API is launched in July, it’s still going to be faster than PSD2 was launched in the UK and in Europe. Fundamentally, I think for such a complex industry spanning project, Australia is  doing a decent job at speed. 

Obviously, that’s no reason to slow down and I think we all want it to happen. ASAP. 

I would focus on thinking about use cases and not being afraid to give use cases a try. The big questions and the most important aspect of CDR is Will people actually use this? Are they going to be willing to share their data?

When CDR launches I expect to see a rolling start. I don’t expect a switch to flick on July 1st and CDR will be all functional and ready. But the success of CDR does require some early adopters, innovators and thought leaders to take the plunge and use the infrastructure. It’s the only way to improve, because it’s not going to get better if no one uses it. 

That is a risk. Luckily in the UK, we work with companies who were willing to take that leap with us. I’m pretty optimistic that there will be companies in Australia who want to do this, don’t want to give anyone an excuse to shut CDR down. It’s up to all of us as an industry to say let’s make this useful. And let’s make it happen.

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Matt Baxby Revolut CEO appointment

Revolut Appoint Matt Baxby CEO for Australia.

Revolut partnered exclusively with Tier One People to conduct the search and appointment of Matt Baxby as Australia Country CEO. Matt brings the perfect blend of Banking expertise and entrepreneurship, having worked under Sir Richard Branson at Virgin. We’ve known Matt since 2010 when he relaunched the Virgin Money Australia business, helping him build out the team back then.

The announcement came on the same day Revolut revealed their latest investment round of US $500m at a valuation of US $5.5bn.

When we first began talking to Revolut in May 2019, the business had 4 million accounts and 700 employees. Today the business has 10 million accounts and 2000 employees, almost trebling in size during the search and onboarding process!

You can read all about the plans for Australia and Revolut globally in this transparent interview with Tom Hambrett and Matt in the AFR

We would like to thank the team at Revolut for being an absolute dream to partner with. The Tier One People team were remotely embedded within the Revolut recruitment team based in Singapore throughout the whole process.

The transparency, collaboration and open communication channels made what could have easily been a highly complex search process run very smoothly.

The team at Tier One People wish Matt and Revolut every success and look forward to continuing the partnership.