Forced to move east
The city also has growing expertise in the internet of things (IOT) due to significant investments made by the mining industry in automation and sensors.
Much of the local activity is based in co-working spaces run by Spacecubed, including Flux and The Vault at Riff, at Tank Stream Labs, and at IQX, the new innovation quarter at the University of Western Australia.
But several Perth-based fintechs have been forced to move east. One example is Simply Wall Street, an investment visualisation system originally set up in Perth but now based out of Sydney.
“In talking with WA-based fintechs I was stunned to hear how many were thinking of moving to the east coast simply because they lacked regulatory support in Perth. We think it’s vital to keep smart firms in WA,” Mr Husic said.
Alex Cook, an adjunct Lecturer at the University of Western Australia law school said the state’s resource-dominated industry has a mature approach to technology and the start-up community “is punching far above its weight, but the missing piece was easy access to our nation’s regulators.”
Natasha Blycha, the blockchain lead at Herbert Smith Freehills, said WA has an increasing focus on regulation of technology. “Our energy, resource and infrastructure companies lead the charge in their use of IOT, data, AI and automation of their processes. WA also gets the benefit of proximity to sophisticated fintech markets in Asia.”
Ben Heap, founding partner of H2 Ventures, said Labor’s support for regulators in Perth showed its support of fintech as a national market. “Founders in Adelaide and Brisbane are able to access the Sydney and Melbourne fintech ecosystem but for emerging founders in Perth that’s more challenging geographically,” he said. “So the Opposition’s commitment to support those founders is a sensible recognition that the fintech opportunity is national one and not just about the east coast.”