There is absolutely no shortage of groundbreaking Australian fintech startups and firms are offering cutting-edge solutions to its users. According to Australian FinTech, Sydney alone is a $60 billion fintech industry and home to more than half of Australia’s fintech firms. Additionally, by the end of 2020, the Australian fintech industry revenue is expected to exceed AU$4 billion at a CAGR of 76.3% .
As the pandemic hit across Australia (and the world) and forced people to stay indoors, more Aussies started to accept online solutions as a part of the ‘new normal’. A boom was seen not just in e-commerce but also in the country’s fintech landscape. The Global Fintech Adoption Index found the fintech adoption rate in Australia to be 58% in 2019 which grew further substantially in 2020 .
Most of the top fintech startups launched in the country revolve around 3 financial sectors – money lending, wealth and investment and big data or data analytics. With more than 800 fintech firms in Australia, just 25% of them actually manage to generate profits.
Here are 12 hottest Australian fintech startups that were able to continue to grow and thrive while setting benchmarks for others:
Year of establishment: 2014
Founders: Anthony Eisen and Nicholas Molnar
CEO: Anthony Eisen
About Afterpay: One of the hottest and biggest fintech companies in Australia, Afterpay is a buy now, pay later darling. Using Afterpay, online shoppers can split their purchases in 4 easy and interest free instalments. The first installment has to be paid by the shopper at the time of purchase. No additional fee is charged by the fintech, except for a late payment fee. The app also allows scheduling repayments and sends regular reminders for the same. The BNPL fintech firm has been operating in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Recent Achievements: Despite the pandemic taking over, 2020 was a good year for Afterpay. The Aussie company acquired Spain-based fintech Pagantis for AU$ 82 million to expand its operations in Europe. The firm also raised a whopping $1.05 billion in capital for its further expansion plans into international markets. The Roy Morgan Digital Payments Report released in June 2020 found Afterpay to be a clear ‘buy no, pay later’ market leader with 55.8% Aussies being aware of the service .
Year of establishment: 2015
Founders: Jack Zhang, Lucy Liu, Xijing Dai, Max Li
CEO: Jack Zhang
About Airwallex: Airwallex is a payments giant born in Melbourne that aims at simplifying global payments for people and businesses. The fintech offers smart cross-border payments infrastructure, technology and applications that inspire international growth. Airwallex is one of Australia’s fastest growing fintech companies that have designed and developed a technology-driven financial infrastructure solution. Their solution allows transparent, high-speed and low-cost global payments collection and transfers.
Apart from Melbourne, it has a physical presence in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Bengaluru and Tokyo.
Recent Achievements: The fintech unicorn raised AUD 57 million for global expansion in September 2020. Airwallex also made it to the Forbes Cloud 100 list securing #61 position. Additionally, it launched the Airwallex Borderless Card in partnership with Visa that allows businesses to make payments to suppliers in seconds.
3. Athena Home Loans
Year of establishment: 2017
Founders: Nathan Walsh, Michael Starkey
CEO: Nathan Walsh
About Athena Home Loans: Athena believes that it is never about getting a home loan but about getting rid of a home loan. The fintech company is basically an online-only low-interest mortgage service provider. Based in Sydney, Athena aims at providing its Aussie customers personalized customer service and competitive interest rates on loans to help them save time and money. It also claims to offer lower interest rates to applicants that are ready to pay a higher down payment. The fintech doesn’t charge applicants any fee for the service it provides.
Recent Achievements: The company says that till now, it has helped its Australian users save a cumulative sum of more than AU$70 million over their loan tenures. One of the top fintech startups in Australia, Athena recently entered a strategic partnership with Newcastle Permanent sanctioning a $300 million in mortgage and home loan funding.
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 Australian FinTech (2017) “Australian FinTech will exceed AUD $4 Billion by 2020” [Online] Available from: https://australianfintech.com.au/australian-fintech-will-exceed-aud-4-billion-by-2020/ [Accessed October 2020]
 Statista (2020) “Rate of fintech adoption in Australia from 2015 to 2019” [Online] Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1039163/australia-fintech-adoption-rate/ [Accessed October 2020]
  Roy Morgan (2020) “Awareness of buy-now-pay-later services Afterpay and Zip soars to over 12.3 million Australians” [Online] Available from: www.roymorgan.com/findings/8438-digital-payment-solutions-june-2020-202006090457 [Accessed October 2020]
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Image 1: Airwallex