DiviPay’s journey to being Australia’s first all-in-one expense management solution

DiviPay’s founders, Daniel Kniaz and Russell Martin, met working at Westpac’s Innovation Hub. Their mutual passion for finding problems to solve would lead to the discovery that SMEs are one of the sectors that lack access to basic banking products and solutions. With a shared motive of delivering value and innovation, they teamed up to start Divipay – a journey towards creating Australia’s first all-in-one expense management platform.

Both Dan and Russ have always been keen to see the work they are doing today reflected in genuine value for the customer tomorrow.

The first iteration of DiviPay was a B2C product to help people split bills with friends. Dan and Russ applied a minimum viable product (MVP) approach to validate whether the idea would be well received in the market. But, as Dan states:

`We had a pivot or persevere moment after launching the first DiviPay. While the platform was growing strongly, we were struggling to monetise the offering – consumers have an expectation that financial services will be free. So we moved to a B2B product, knowing we could create a sustainable business model with a solution that solved a core problem for small business owners.

Dan and Russ recognised an opportunity in the market: using DiviPay as a secure payment method for smaller organisations.

Businesses were concerned about card sharing – where dozens of people in a company share a photocopy of a credit card for expenses. And employees didn’t like the alternative: putting their hands in their own pockets and then waiting for reimbursements. Dan and Russ realised DiviPay could help.

All-in-one spend management

And so DiviPay 2.0 was born. Business owners, CFOs and financial controllers started to approach DiviPay as an easy way to manage business spending. And as the product found its wings, users started to ask for increased functionality. They wanted more payment types, more control. So, today the product spans digital corporate cards, subscriptions, bill payments, reimbursements, and overall expense management. 

DiviPay is constantly increasing its market share in the spend management arena, winning the business of over 1,000 small to medium sized organisations. DiviPay’s customers love the breadth and agility of the platform, and alongside traditional business banking, customers enjoy a comprehensive solution for all their financial needs. 

DiviPay has recently raised a $20 million Series A, testament to the business’ success to date and its future potential. These funds will be injected into product and team growth (increasing from 20-100 staff in 2022), with an eye to expanding into international markets later this year.

Enhanced leadership team

As part of this growth, DiviPay has recently appointed ex-Citi investment banker Damon Hauenstein as CFO and Olga Klimentieva as Head of People and Culture. Olga’s appointment is testament to Dan and Russ’ commitment to people, performance and talent development.

Dan states:

‘We’re committed to providing a great place for people to work. We do work hard but we also want people to have fun and enjoy themselves. We’ve built a really collaborative culture over the last few years, and as we grow, we’re keen to retain those values going forward.’

What’s on the horizon?

DiviPay’s product roadmap will deepen their expense management solution, with credit, additional payment options and improved workflows to ultimately provide small business owners with a reliable financial infrastructure. The team will also explore overseas markets, including NZ and Singapore.


Visit DiviPay’s website to find out more.

How two brothers displaced by civil war are helping billions achieve financial equality

Australia is the fourth most expensive G20 country in the world to send remittances from due to exorbitant merchant fees and an antiquated financial system.

For every $1,000 money transfer, Australians pay $23 more than Americans, $9 more than the British and $4 more than Canadians.

Despite this, more than 7.6 million migrants live in Australia and have family and loved ones overseas in need of financial assistance. Many of those with family living abroad are based in developing nations, and some of them are ‘unbanked’, without access to digital technology or a financial institution.

Somali migrants Nuradin and Hashim Omar saw their families impacted by this problem firsthand after they could not send money to a loved one in need of urgent help due to limited providers and a lack of financial inclusion. (more…)

FrankieOne: from Melbourne startup to global regtech in 4 years

FrankieOne is a global regulatory technology (regtech) company, headquartered in Melbourne. It helps financial services companies comply with regulations and prevent fraud. FrankieOne’s customers including banks, buy-now-pay-later companies and crypto-currency businesses.

Founded in 2017 by Simon Costello and Aaron Chipper, FrankieOne has experienced rapid export-led growth during the pandemic. It is now a global company. In this case study, Costello explains:

  • FrankieOne’s early days in Australia
  • the company’s global scale-up strategy
  • how Austrade has helped global expansion.

New customers and regulatory compliance

(more…)

Australian payments specialist, Zai, a new force in global fintech

Zai is an Australian financial services provider. It offers integrated payment solutions for digital native businesses, including cross-border payments and reconciliation. This helps small business grow faster and eliminate compliance costs.

In this case study Rimal Gokani, Chief Commercial Officer at Zai offers insights into the company’s journey and future plans, including:

  • how Australia fosters fintech innovation
  • the strategic role of Austrade in their global expansion plans.

E-commerce fuels demand for payments services

(more…)

Powering the next generation of payments

Episode Six, or E6, is a payments technology company that provides issuer processing and digital wallet  management, which enables banks, fintechs and brands to design and launch their payments products  with ease, flexibility and speed.  

In this article, Daryn Griggs, Episode Six’s Brisbane-based Managing Director for Asia Pacific, explains  how the company has developed, including:  

– the origins of E6’s Tritium platform and its links to Australia  

– how the platform is being used in Australia  

– how Episode Six is prepared for the next generation of payments  

(more…)

Change: Simplifying payment experiences worldwide 

Change Financial (Change) is a global fintech, providing payment solutions to banks and fintechs. Change partners with clients to provide simple, flexible, and fast to market payment solutions and services.

“What many banks and fintech firms need to do is be able to facilitate in person and digital payments for their customers. We provide all of that underlying technology,” said Alastair Wilkie, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Change Financial

Change, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, currently partners with over 146 clients across 41 countries, managing and processing over 16 million credit, debit, and prepaid cards worldwide. 

Change began life by providing a retail banking service via a mobile app and prepaid debit cards to the unbanked and under-banked in the U.S.

“The whole purpose was to give these under banked access to cash through ATMs but there was no credit facility. Ultimately, Change had over 300,000 customers who had decided to activate a card, and this gave them access to money through the banks,” Mr Wilkie said. 

By broadening the digital channels that customers could use to access its services to include Facebook and Google, Change grew rapidly to the point that by the end of 2019 it had been registered as a Mastercard payments processor. This made it the first card issuing and payment platform to complete this process in the previous five years and only the second fintech to achieve this status in the previous 20 years after Marqeta Inc. 

In 2020 Change took another leap forward with the acquisition of the Australia and New Zealand business assets of Wirecard whose clients included the big four Australian banks and major supermarket chains. 

Change has now emerged as a critical service provider that connects licensed banks with companies to provide integrated payment processing and card management services. It also offers performance and maintenance services to ensure business clients meet high standards.

Through its customisable payments platform Vertexon, Change helps businesses to issue cards, digital wallets, and BNPL systems; enables access to major card schemes like Mastercard, VISA and AMEX, and offers Apple, Google and Samsung pay services. 

Vertexon’s software as a service (SaaS) model connects existing licensed banks with modern application programming interface (API) driven businesses. Its payments technology provides the software infrastructure that enables clients to offer a sophisticated, quick to market, payments capability.

Change’s PaySim offers a full end-to-end payment testing solution to ensure clients meet the capability and performance expectations of their customers by simulating the full transaction lifecycle.

PaySim’s API enables clients to automate their testing functions and integrate it with their testing and quality assurance toolsets. 

Along the way to reaching this total product offering, Mr Wilkie said the company faced two key challenges. 

“The first was the strategic move to being a processor as well as being a payments platform service provider, effectively moving from prepaid to a debit and credit card processor. This took over two and half years to complete because of all the regulatory requirements,” he said. 

“The second major challenge was how to encapsulate all the evolving consumer payment needs like mobile access, virtual and digital cards, and the newly emerging payment options like Apple Pay Google Pay and Samsung pay. 

“This was all about creating a wider remit of how you pay which all required a major expansion in technology. This also had to be done without ending up costing clients a lot of money,” Mr Wilkie said. 

While Change developed a strategy to do this in 2020 which it estimated would take up to three years to implement, fortunately at the same time along came the Wirecard acquisition.

“I estimate that 70 to 80 percent of what we were trying to achieve within three years was available to us by making a strategic acquisition of Wirecard’s assets,” Mr Wilkie said.

“We also got access to a highly trained staff and a large revenue base generated from around the world. In all it brought forward our three-year strategic plan by about 18 months,” Mr Wilkie said. 

Looking ahead, Mr Wilkie said Change expected that by the end of the current financial year in June we will have a number of new customers operating on our platform. The company is also looking at all the new forms of digital finance payments like cryptocurrencies. 

“We are engaging with those opportunities, like Crypto and BNPL, that really help to improve the consumer interaction with payments,” Mr Wilkie said.

Change is building momentum in the Australian payments as a service (PaaS) space, leveraging its experience in the US market to become a truly global solutions provider.

UK’s Railsbank spurs embedded finance in Australia

Railsbank is a pioneer of embedded finance technology. The company helps clients to launch new financial products and simplify financial transactions. Railsbank does this by providing its specialist technology as an outsourced service.

Railsbank launched in Australia in March 2021. In this case study, Ben Smith, General Manager for Australia at Railsbank offers insights into the company’s progress in Australia, including:

  • the emergence of embedded finance and its future in Australia
  • how the company partnered with Australia’s first neo-bank, Volt
  • support from trade-promotion agencies including Austrade.

The new embedded-finance market

‘Embedded finance’ has gained global traction in recent years. The term describes how specific banking functions are now packaged as an outsourced service to companies that need to process financial transactions.

This outsourced service is called ‘banking-as-a-service’ (BaaS). New fintechs are attracted to BaaS providers because it helps them to compete effectively with established banks.

‘This [BaaS] helps new players to launch and scale-up financial products,’ says Smith. ‘By using our technology, they can stay focused on nurturing customer relationships and delivering a superior experience.’

Recent regulatory changes have encouraged the emergence of BaaS in Australia. And BaaS-enabled embedded finance is forecast to grow fast.

UK embedded finance co. partners with Australia’s first neobank

The company partnered with Australia’s first neobank, Volt, and launched as ‘Railspay’ in March 2021. Railspay quickly signed up a spate of new fintech customers.

‘With a partner like Volt, we are able to access local market knowledge,’ says Smith. ‘When added to our global experience, this enabled us to deliver a world-class product for the Australian market.’

Consumer Data Right laws to power open banking in Australia

Smith says that the landscape for fintechs in Australia has many similarities to the UK. He forecasts that open banking will take off in Australia following the recently enacted Consumer Data Right (CDR) legislation.

‘Australia is on our radar as a strategic market for strengthening our presence in the region,’ he says. ‘The financial services industry is changing dramatically across the globe. The change has been rather pronounced in the last couple of years, and this is just the beginning.’

A natural partner for London fintechs

Austrade’s fintech adviser in London, Andy Thompson, says the Australian market provides great opportunities for many UK fintechs. He cites companies such as RevolutGoCardlessWise, 10x and Truelayer. All have successfully launched new services in the Australian market.

‘Australia provides the opportunity for UK fintechs to test, launch and scale new products and services without the risk of an unfamiliar regulatory or legal system,’ says Thompson. ‘They encounter strong business and consumer demand in Australia — and an appetite for digital technology.’

The UK–Australia FinTech Bridge

One reason for fintech interest in Australia is a formal government-to-government agreement. This is the UK–Australian FinTech Bridge, which was signed in March 2018.

The bilateral agreement is designed to help the Australian and UK governments collaborate on fintech policy and regulation. It smooths the flow of fintech trade and investment between the UK and Australia. And it is designed to encourage new commercial partnerships.

‘The UK–Australia FinTech bridge helps to create a regulatory environment that is open to fintech innovation,’ says Thompson. ‘The bridge is not just international collaboration – it’s also about regulators partnering with industry to help pilot new services.’

Austrade helps UK fintech to navigate licensing

Smith reports that Austrade helped Railsbank to set up in Australia.

‘Austrade helped us understand the regulatory framework in Australia during our exploratory phase,’ says Smith. ‘They also introduced us to a number of legal advisors who helped us through license-application formalities.’

Smith says that this was a particularly tricky phase of his company’s growth journey. This was because of the chaos and restrictions triggered by the pandemic.

‘The on-the-ground support we got from Austrade was exceptional,’ he adds. ‘The UK Department of Investment and Trade worked collaboratively with Australian state governments, and that – too – was exceptional. They have supported our foray into Australia.’

For more information

To find out how Austrade can help global fintechs invest in Australia, please visit the Austrade fintech hub.

Australian payments fintech goes global, with Melbourne-based Verrency

Verrency is one of Australia’s fastest-growing fintechs. The company provides specialist payments technologies to banks as an add-in service. This enables banks to quickly include value-added services into digital-payments, including carbon offsets, donations and personalised customer-engagement options.

In this case study, Verrency CEO, Jeroen van Son, explains his company’s journey from Australian startup to global payments platform, including:

  • why payments tech is poised for growth
  • what makes Australian fintechs globally competitive
  • how Austrade helps global expansion

New fintech potential in banks’ legacy IT

Verrency was founded in 2016 to help financial institutions create smarter and more sophisticated payment options for customers. The challenge is that bank’s IT systems tend to be fairly rigid. This makes rapid innovation a real challenge, which in turn makes it harder to meet customer needs.

‘If an established financial institution can deploy a technology platform that delivers fintech products and services at speed and at scale, without replacing the current systems – that’s a gamechanger,’ says van Son.

Verrency devised a cloud-based payments solution. This made it one of the first fintechs to offer a scalable payment solution using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model.

‘Our breakthrough technology gave us our initial wins,’ says van Son. ‘And the confidence our clients placed in our secure and reliable service gave us the boost to go beyond our home shores.’

Verrency goes global after just two years

The startup grew quickly in international markets. In 2018 year, Verrency set up offices in the US, Singapore and the UK. The following year, Verrency signed the US fintech giant, FIS, as one of its clients.

And in 2021 Verrency joined Visa’s Fintech Connect programme. This means it can sell to banks via the Visa payments system.

Rapid growth shows how fast Australian fintech can globalise, according to van Son. It also highlights opportunities for Australian fintechs to partner with major global financial institutions.

‘Today, approximately 50% of our revenues come from international markets,’ he says. ‘Also, 90% of our institutional clients are located outside of Australia.’

Top talent and pro-innovation policies power Australian fintech

The Chief Executive says that overseas events provide great exposure for Australian fintech globally. They also generate ideas for fintech development. He cites the Australian Fintech Mission at the worldwide Money 20/20 event in Las Vegas, US.

‘Event exposure is a great way to get feedback from potential clients and service providers,’ says van Son. ‘This allows us to build on our Australian experience, understand local market dynamics and tweak our products in the context of those markets.’

He also cites two factors in Australia that help create world-class fintech: high quality talent and appropriate policies.

‘Despite being a small market, the rich Australian ecosystem gives us the confidence to compete on the biggest stage,’ he says.

Austrade contacts and the Landing Pads programs aid expansion

Austrade works closely with global trade missions and industry bodies – in Australia and overseas. Trade missions trigger a peer-to-peer exchange of ideas. And by taking part, Australian fintechs gain regulatory and legal insights into overseas jurisdictions before taking the plunge.

‘Verrency engaged with Austrade from the early days of our launch,’ says van Son. ‘Our participation in events organised by Austrade since 2017 has played a substantial role in our expansion strategy.’

Austrade residency programs have also helped. They are typically run in San Francisco, Singapore and Tel Aviv. These Landing Pad residencies promote networking, develop pitch skills, and provide introductions to venture capital in overseas markets.

‘Our participation in the San Francisco Landing Pad paved the way for our US launch in 2018,’ says van Son. ‘Despite being focused on the theme of cybersecurity, it helped us gain an understanding of what it takes to launch in large and mature markets abroad.’

For more information

Please visit the new Austrade fintech hub to find out more about Australian fintech

Member Spotlight: Nano

Nano: Reshaping the Australian mortgage market 

Digital lender Nano Digital Home Loans is an Australian fintech lender offering the country’s first end-to-end digital mortgage service.

Nano was founded by ex-Westpac executives Andrew Walker and Chris Lumby. We had the chance to speak with  Andrew Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Nano Digital Home Loans, who said that Nano was born from the belief that technology and data should reshape the traditional home loan industry, making it simple, fast and fair. 

The financial service systems of today often have opaque pricing and complex processes. Many traditional lenders struggle to keep pace with technological developments and continue to use outdated systems, making the process long and tedious. Many consumers looking to buy or refinance a home are forced to fill out many forms and supply a range of paperwork such as payslips and bank statements. This often follows a lengthy waiting period for the application to be manually reviewed and processed before getting a response.

Impatient for change, the Nano team set out to reshape the home loan approval process using digital, data and design capabilities to create a borrowing experience that puts homeowners in control. Mr Walker noted that Nano has helped its customers save an average of $70,000 over the life of a loan.*

Nano offers an online application and loan decision-making service. Unlike other lenders, it uses automated property valuations, digital credit scores, automatic retrieval of banking transaction data, and digital verification of identity using biometrics. Mr Walker says that with this data and technology, Nano delivers home loan approvals in less than 10 minutes.

The digital experience isn’t limited to the home loan approval process. Nano offers its direct customers a range of everyday services via its app, for example, Nano Visa debit card and offset sub-account help homeowners with their finances and saving on interest repayments.

“When you refinance your home loan with Nano, we then provide one place to borrow, purchase, pay and tuck money away, all without fees,” Mr Walker said. 

“What we have done is pulled the functionality of traditional banking apart and re-bundled it innovatively to put the mortgage at the centre of it,” he said.

One of Nano’s biggest challenges to date has been scaling the business up during the COVID pandemic and the lockdowns which hit its home state of NSW. NSW went into COVID lockdown a week before Nano launched its first product. Despite this, the team has grown over 50% over the last few months, with half of the team not having met face to face.

Andrew Walker said: “The challenge has really been keeping the culture and organisation aligned, as we scale – virtually. As a result, we’ve had to completely relook at our onboarding, internal communications, and practices, to ensure we’re all staying united in working to the same common goal, as we scale.”

In just three months from its public launch, Nano saw its loan book grow to over $200 million in approved loans, with more than 80% of demand coming from customers of one of the traditional banks.

Mr Walker was proud to note that, in September this year, Nano was awarded an innovation patent for its proprietary loan application and decision-making technology. The Innovation Patent for the ‘Automated Real-Time Digital Mortgage Application and Decisioning Engine’ granted by the Australian Patents Office confirmed the uniqueness of Nano’s platform and recognised the innovative nature of its data-driven technology.

Nano’s next step is to extend the reach of its platform through a series of strategic partnerships.

This month Nano announced a major agreement with US computer giant Oracle. “By combining Nano’s innovative, data-driven credit-onboarding with Oracle’s trusted and proven banking platform, partner banks are bringing the scale and experience of the world’s leading banking platform providers to the digital mortgage revolution,” says Mr Walker. 

“We’re really excited about this partnership. It gives us scale, credibility, horsepower and an accelerated pathway into a global market which is extremely valuable for a company at our stage.”

“Digital is the new frontline of competition across the industry. Those that cannot meet the new digital service standard will face a Blockbuster moment,” Mr Walker concluded. 

* $70,475 is the average interest savings Nano customers have saved over the life of their loan by switching to Nano as at 24 Aug-21.

Openpay: Exporting Australian payments fintech to the UK & US

Openpay is an Australian fintech offering ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) and business-to-business (B2B) payments services. The company began operating in Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2019. It has now launched in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

In this case study, Openpay’s Group Chief Marketing Officer, Georgina Whalley takes us through the company’s export journey and future plans, including:

  1. the evolution of ‘buy now, pay later’ services in Australia
  2. how Austrade has helped Openpay’s global expansion
  3. the role of the UK-Australia FinTech Hub.

Fertile ground for fintech innovation

According to Whalley, the current model for BNPL financing was pioneered in Australia. Melbourne-based investment company, Meydan Group combined technology and digital banking to create a new payments service in 2013. The business spin-off eventually became Openpay.

‘Australians are tech-savvy consumers who are open to modern ways of conducting traditional transactions,’ says Whalley. ‘This makes Australia fertile ground for fintech companies like Openpay.’

Differentiation is key to success in the BNPL market

Demand for BNPL is surging – especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To succeed, Openpay focuses on niche industries to deliver growth.

‘Openpay has a strongly differentiated BNPL offering, which we call ‘buy now, pay smarter (BNPS),’ says Whalley. ‘We cater to demand in specific segments such as healthcare, education and home improvement.

‘Our idea is to enable access to major life purchases while minimising the financial risks for our customers’.

Austrade supports high growth-potential businesses

Openpay was selected by Austrade to participate in a program for high growth tech exporters in late 2020.

‘The Austrade program was a key milestone in our journey,’ says Whalley. ‘Access to Austrade’s network gave us a foothold within the larger fintech ecosystem.’

‘Austrade is a great partner for Australian businesses which are innovative and offer a ground-breaking proposition,’ she adds. ‘Program support from the Australian Government is a vote of confidence in high growth-potential startups.’

Austrade opens doors for overseas expansion

Openpay has participated in a number of events organised by Austrade since 2019. These events helped to open doors in overseas markets.

One event was part of the ‘UK-Australia FinTech Bridge’ collaboration. This took place in London earlier in early 2021. It focussed on the role of fintechs in the post-COVID-19 recovery. It helped Openpay understand changing regulation in the UK finance market.

‘Local regulations go a long way in informing our offerings and go-to-market strategies,’ says Whalley.

‘Setting up operations in an overseas market can be an uphill task for start-ups, particularly in mature and greenfield markets,’ she adds ‘We’re glad to have Austrade as a trusted and reliable ally because every new market we enter is a huge leap forward for us.’


About Austrade

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency.

We deliver quality trade and investment services to businesses to grow Australia’s prosperity. We do this by generating and providing market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.

To discover how we can help you and your business, visit austrade.gov.au or contact us on 13 28 78 (within Australia).

Upcoming Events
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Videos

Ep 2: Fintechs Acceleration of Growth Since COVID

Ep 1: The Evolution of Payments

Scaling Product Globally

Podcasts

Lee Hatton – Afterpay: FinTech Australia Podcast

Anthony Jones – Visa AUS/NZ

Tim Cameron – TransferWise