Fintech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the financial services market around the world. In Australia, Sydney is the city seeing the biggest boom and is acting as a launch pad for the entire APAC region. Stone & Chalk was founded last year as an innovative way to foster and accelerate the development of start-ups in this ever-evolving space, acting as a physical ‘centre of gravity’ for the local fintech ecosystem.
From day one, Alex Scandurra has been overseeing Stone & Chalk’s operations as CEO. A former army captain and the co-founder of Barclays Bank’s accelerator program in the UK, Alex was well equipped to lead. “One of the things I loved about the military was the teamwork, camaraderie, and the shared purpose,” he explains. “It was a no-nonsense environment where excellence was encouraged and rewarded. In many respects, my views of the start-up world are very similar. Start-ups have scarce resources; they don’t have the time to play politics or sit around waiting for committees to make the call.
“It’s a really positive environment, and I get a huge kick out of helping others succeed. The ultimate measure of Stone & Chalk’s success isn’t how many start-ups we have in our space or how many partners we have, but rather how well we help our start-ups to become successful in their own right and how well we help our partners become ‘start-up ready’ and collaborate. That’s a huge buzz. Our ethos is reflected in the type of people we attract—people who live a culture of paying it forward and giving first. We’re here to support shared success.”
Stone & Chalk has recognised that if it is to have the biggest positive impact on fintech start-ups, it can’t do everything on its own. Thus, Alex explains, the organisation has established strong corporate partnerships with some of the biggest brands in financial services and technology. These include Westpac, ANZ, Macquarie, IBM, Oracle, Thompson Reuters, Woolworths, and Optus.