Australian FinTech company profile #94 – Sandstone Technology

Australian FinTech company profile #94 – Sandstone Technology

1. Company Name: Sandstone Technology

2. Website:

3. Key Staff & Titles:

Bob Hall, Chairman, Co-Founder, and Acting CEO
Violet Yu, Co-Founder and Director, People and Performance
Pow-Chuan Lee, CFO
Andrew Duckworth, CTO
Michael Phillipou, Chief Customer Officer
Liam Crehan, GM Lending Solutions
Dom Monty, GM Digital Banking
Raymond Yap, GM Digital Acquisition
Chaitanya Pinnamaneni, Chief Cloud Officer
Andy Thompson, GM Europe

4. Location(s): Offices in Australia, United Kingdom and Philippines

5. In one sentence, what does your fintech do?
Sandstone Technology transforms banking experiences by delivering innovative banking solutions to help our customers grow their business and increase efficiencies, while delivering exceptional customer experiences.

6. How / why did you start your fintech company?:

Before “fintech” was a thing, our founders, Bob Hall and Violet Yu, were dreaming up ways to transform banking through what was then a new channel called the internet, simplifying the customer journey and the employee experience. They identified a gap in the market and went for it. After leaving IBM they gave themselves 12 months to develop a banking solution for the market and sell it into their first customer. More than 20+ years later Sandstone Technology is still leading the charge, innovating and evolving as the industry evolves. Our high client retention rate is our proudest achievement with 40+ financial institutions across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the United Kingdom placing their trust in our solutions. From digital banking and digital onboarding to loan origination and AI-based data analysis, with cloud-based or on-premise deployment, we create flexible, robust, end-to-end solutions using a multi-channel approach that gets our clients to market faster.

7. What is the best thing your company has achieved or learnt along the way (this can include awards, capital raising etc)?:

Sandstone started as a two person team in a house in Sydney’s northern suburbs by two ex-IBMers with a passion for technology. It was the passion that drove the innovation. In the early days of the company’s inception we were selected by AUSTRADE to go to Silicon Valley. This was a highlight for us as we were new to the industry and up against fierce competition. Many of the organisations we faced in the early days no longer exist. That visit to Silicon Valley was the start of a lot of firsts for Sandstone – first to launch a digital banking solution enabled across multiple devices in Australian banking, first to go live with two-factor authentication integrated into internet banking. We continue to look at industry trends and identify the opportunities to help financial institutions to create efficiencies wherever possible. The biggest lesson we have learnt is that in order to make great products, you must first start with great people.

8. What’s some advice you’d give to an aspiring start-up?:

Passion alone will not create a successful company. You need to set yourself up for success by ensuring the company can survive financially and pay its staff. Cash is King. Boot strap your business so you are not spending more than you have in the bank. Many great companies that started around the same time as us have fallen by the wayside as they run out of cash before they were able to get to critical mass.

9. What’s next for your company? And are you looking to expand overseas or stay focussed on Australia?:

The next big innovation for the business is in self-service lending, which is centred around the removal of the mortgage broker middleman to simplify the process. Traditionally, it’s been very complicated to get a top-up on your mortgage from a bank, and so the work we’re focused on at the moment has been around making that a lot easier. An example being: people who need to do renovations around the house and need to extend their mortgage. We think that the aftermath of COVID-19 will bring a steer towards consumer self-service, as banking customers will be more used to working online and less enthusiastic about face-to-face meetings. This means there will be a definite need for this kind of banking solution.

We have been operating in Australia for over 24 years and in more recent years have branched out into the New Zealand market providing solutions for four of the key financial institutions. We are also looking at expanding further into the UK market which we have had a long presence and an ever growing customer base.

10. What other fintechs or companies do you admire?:

Wisetech & Atlassian – Australian companies gone Global

Amazon and Alibaba – founders who are truly ahead of their time and have great vision and conviction, but also the ability to execute their vision successfully

It comes down to passion, drive and the ability to recognise what is needed in the market before others do and take bold but measured risks, and also a lot of hard slog and attention to detail in execution to turn the passion and vision into successful companies.

11. What’s the most interesting or funniest moment that’s happened in your company’s lifetime?:

Having offered banking solutions for more than 20 years, we have witnessed a lot of change in an industry which seems to be in a constant state of flux. However, the biggest is the consolidation of the industry. When we started there were lots of banks in Australia, whereas now there wouldn’t be a third of that number. But despite there now being fewer banks, they’re a lot bigger, and it’s helped to bring online banking from the fringes into the mainstream.