Our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hit the nail on the head when he said “the Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative”.
Rather than just political lip service, the urgency of his words rings true for large corporations in particular – those companies employing millions of Australians and powering a large portion of our economy. If they don’t adopt innovation and creative disruption at their core, their ability to stay relevant and competitive will decrease with every new competing startup that launches into their market.
Westpac snatched the opportunity to support startup innovation as partner for the Disrupt@Scale corporate innovation program which has been running for the past 6 months.
The Disrupt@Scale program was envisaged as an important innovation program to bridge the gap between large-scale corporate interest in, and support for, startups in Australia. It is designed to marry corporates, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs around a theme of innovation from which startups rapidly grow and innovation spreads in the partnering corporate.
We’re flipping the model on its head by sourcing the customer and their problem before looking for the startups with the solution.
By providing the startups with internal resources and assistance to leverage Westpac’s infrastructure we achieve a win-win outcome that sees Westpac accelerate its innovation capability alongside the growth of the new startups. It’s a new model that we hope will benefit many more startups.
The four winning startups are solving enterprise problems around human interactions and transactions raised by Westpac – ranging from cyber security to supply chain management. SpaceConnect, ResponSight, Unscrabble and Bulkist each received $75,000 investment along with a six month placement in BlueChilli’s 156 Accelerator and the opportunity to trial their new products within areas of Westpac’s business. Another finalist SafetyCompass joined the portfolio after receiving investment following the program’s exposure. Having a clear commercialisation route and customer in pocket is serving them well in the lead up to the investor event they pitch at in early November.
We’re so proud of these founders, their companies and the rapid progress they made. We believe this win-win collaboration between corporates and startups can contribute positively to creating the innovative and creative nation we need to create. Keep an eye out for many more to come!