Stone & Chalk, the new Sydney fintech hub set to open its doors in May, has revealed the identity of its inaugural chief executive.
Australian-born Alex Scandurra has left his position in the UK to head Stone & Chalk, a collaborative not-for-profit centre for start-ups, financial institutions and technology companies.
Mr Scandurra was most recently Barclays Bank's head of strategic partnerships, and also headed the 'Barclays Accelerator' program.
He specialises in "innovation and entrepreneurial transformation", according to a statement.
Stone & Chalk chair Craig Dunn described Mr Scandurra as a "leading driver of change in this field".
"Alex is an ideal candidate for the job, given his unique leadership role in helping UK fintech start-ups and bringing about the Barclays fintech initiative with Techstars in London," Mr Dunn said.
"London provides an excellent role model for Sydney to emulate – and Alex brings an invaluable understanding of this market, including a network of strong global relationships to help Australian fintech entrepreneurs," he said.
Mr Scandurra conceptualised and delivered the ‘Innovation Escalator’ entrepreneur hub in Europe, and was the major architect behind the Open Innovation Program which saw hundreds of start-ups pitch to win pilot projects with large organisations, according to the statement.
Prior to Barclays, he worked at Nokia for seven years and before that he was a senior project engineer for Lend Lease.
Mr Scandurra said he had worked closely with many fintech start-ups across multiple regions and industries over the past five years.
"Whilst local conditions tend to differ, I’ve found that the needs of entrepreneurs are universal, irrespective of whether they come from places as different as Singapore, New York, London or Sydney," he said.
"As an Australian, it is a fantastic time to return home and help drive the success and momentum of our fintech community, utilising my experience helping fintech companies in London," Mr Scandurra said.
"I’m looking forward to helping our local fintech entrepreneurs to build and grow their new ventures, as well as Stone & Chalk, a start-up itself," he added.
"We are going to collaborate together to amplify our impact in disrupting the status quo and co-creating the future of financial services. Our mission is to help foster the fintech start-up community, to help teams of entrepreneurs accelerate growth and ultimately to help Aussie fintech start-ups go global," Mr Scandurra said.
Stone & Chalk will provide a platform of "unprecedented access and opportunity" both to high-potential entrepreneurs and their businesses as well as early-stage investors and organisations, he said.
The fintech hub, located on Level 26 at 45 Clarence Street in Sydney, describes itself as a "an independent, not-for-profit entity created to help foster and accelerate the development of world-class Australian fintech start-ups".
Mr Dunn said there has been an "overwhelming response" since the launch of the centre last month.
"In the first three weeks of inviting applications from local fintech start-ups, we have had well over 120 fintech companies apply for residency, with demand for over 300 seats," her said.
"The other pleasing aspect has been the diversity of the start-ups seeking access to Stone & Chalk, ranging across the full spectrum of the fintech sector – peer-to-peer lending, crowd-funding, investment advice, payments, insurance, crypto-currencies and capital markets," Mr Dunn said.