Australian fintech VC investment bullish in 2020, merger activity declines: KPMG Pulse of Fintech

Australian fintech VC investment bullish in 2020, merger activity declines: KPMG Pulse of Fintech

Investment in Australia’s fintech sector has accelerated in the first half of 2020, reaching A$517.3 million (US$376.5m), a more than 150% increase on the corresponding period in 2019 of A$204.7 million (US$149.05m). However, a fall in M&A and PE activity caused total investment in Australian fintech to fall from A$1.785 billion (US$1.3b) in the first half of 2019 to A$752 million (US$548m) this year, according to the latest KPMG Pulse of Fintech report.

The biggest Australian fintech transactions recorded by the report in the first half of the year were Airwallex and Judo Bank, raising A$220 million (US$160m) in VC investment and A$201.4 million (US$146.6m) from PE investors respectively. Another area of Australian fintech that continues to gain investor and funding support is the ‘buy now, pay later’ or instalment finance sector, with Zip acquiring US-based QuadPay and China-based mega-giant Tencent buying shares in Afterpay. Through COVID-19, more merchants are looking to enhance their e-commerce/POS options for their customers who have shifted their purchasing their activities to online/mobile.

“Australia is showing itself to be a strong fintech hub globally, with solid investments in H1’20 despite rising pandemic concerns. As fintechs in Australia aggressively work to scale and maturity, they are expected to drive increasing investment in the space. Additional offshore acquisitions are also expected as fintechs target international growth,” said Dan Teper, KPMG Australia Partner and Head of Fintech.

“Government is also continuing to play a key role in supporting the growth of a vibrant fintech eco-system in Australia, and in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic. These positive investment numbers will no doubt be helpful to policymakers hoping to accelerate the emergence of the sector as a platform for global Australian companies. With other jurisdictions also looking to create fintech opportunities, we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal,” he said.

During H1’20, a number of governments made big moves to push their fintech agendas forward including Australia. In March, Australia re-opened submissions to its Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology to better understand how COVID-19 has affected the sector and identify supports that can be rapidly deployed.