Westpac launches ‘data accelerator’ program

Westpac has announced the launch of an Australian first ‘data accelerator’ program, giving eligible start-ups access to the bank’s data sets to help spur the development of business and customer innovations. 

Partnering with Sydney-based fintech hub Stone & Chalk, the FUELD accelerator program will give early-stage start-ups access to Data Republic’s data exchange platform, as well as access to Westpac’s aggregated and anonymised transactional data.

Westpac’s own venture capital firm Reinventure, a major investor in Data Republic, will offer commercial expertise and mentorship to eligible start-ups, with Amazon Web Services ‘Activate’ initiative providing infrastructure and support.

Former Fishburners chief executive Murray Hurps will head the FUELD program.

FUELD is the first accelerator of its kind to utilise large data sets to create new data products that solve specific problems for industry and the public sector, according to Macgregor Duncan, Westpac’s Co-head of business development.

“We anticipate the outcomes of FUELD will offer customers tailored solutions, as well as offering data innovation which can be applied more broadly to a wide range of customers and industries,” Duncan said.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Duncan said start-ups from the program could potentially break new ground in developing credit models or applications for algorithmic real-time property valuations.

The program could also offer start-ups an avenue to develop real-time macroeconomic indicators for the Australian economy, effectively replacing retrospective numbers prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Duncan said.

Reinventure co-founder and managing director, Danny Gilligan, said the program is “unique” in providing ready-to-go infrastructure for start-ups, and offers “entrepreneurs the ability to produce amazing data-driven innovation very quickly and cheaply, with access to unique data, and customers with an identified need.”

Eight start-ups are expected to join the three-month program’s initial intake, with Westpac providing $50,000 of funding per start-up.

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