PODCAST: banking on innovation

Much has been written about the bitter rivalry between marauding fintechs and the old banking regime. But the battle lines have become less dangerous in the last few years – leading to greater cooperation and partnerships with shared values.

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Pic: Daniel Wypler, Investment Director for ANZi Ventures

For Daniel Wypler, Investment Director for ANZi Ventures - the bank’s new innovation and investments arm - deriving value from a fintech’s processes, technologies or mindsets can be very much a win-win.

"These companies are a part of the family and we want to do something with them. There is a strategic reason why we made that investment.” – Wypler

What exactly is ANZi?

ANZi is the bank’s innovation and investments team. Broken into three main groups, the team reports into Ron Spector, ANZi Venture’s Managing Director.

“We have the venture capital arm, a partnerships team and the new business lab - or NBL for short,” Wypler explains. “Our purpose is to make investments in companies that ANZ can work and partner with. We can bring strategic value to them and they can bring strategic value to us.”

Investments made through ANZi focus on four key areas: homeownership, trade and capital flows, small and medium businesses (SMB), and open data.

Wypler says the strategic benefit of these investments is more important than the financial return.

“Our main focus is we absolutely do want to help them grow and scale and become the next big thing,” he says. “If we can work with them to deliver a superior experience to our customers or we can use their technology to improve our current practices and services, that's what we care most about.”

Wypler says the bank ultimately focuses on the end customer by helping the fintech create and further develop a service or product which can then be used by customers.

“Our competitive advantage is the NBL,” he explains. “We have the unique capability [to] make the investment and then co-create something with [the fintech]. That could be spun out as a joint-venture or a wholly-owned subsidiary. It allows us to quickly work with a fintech [where] the normal process would take quite a bit longer.”

ANZi Venture’s investments to-date

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However, Wypler says the team’s real “superpower” comes from buy-in from senior executives throughout the bank.

“It gives us a real advantage in terms of visibility within the bank. These companies are a part of the family and we want to do something with them. There is a strategic reason why we made that investment,” he says.

“Having the perspective [of executive leaders] is extremely valuable to make sure our thesis behind these investments aligns to the bank. [Executives] can draw on [their] experiences and give that knowledge back to the companies we're looking to invest in and that we have invested in.”

With seven portfolio companies under the belt in the first year, Wypler says ANZi’s speed and flexibility has been unique compared with competitors domestically and globally.

Wypler explains these companies in more detail, as well as what’s next for ANZi, in the podcast linked above.

Nick Higginbottom is Senior Manager, Media Relations at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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