News Pulse for March 13, 2017

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

The media monitoring business is next to be disrupted

As if the news cycle doesn’t feel fast enough already, a new automated online media monitoring service is launching in Australia this week.

The new product also throws some light onto the dark arts of political and corporate media advisers, who are responsible for ensuring their bosses get the right kind of headlines.

SMEs more positive about technology as concerns over tech costs diminish

Small and medium businesses say attracting new customers, as well as managing cashflows and late payments, are the greatest pressures they face this year. But, concerns about seeing technology as a painpoint have lessened among many.

The MYOB biannual Business Monitor just published revealed a downward trend for SMEs who previously saw technology as a painpoint, with the cost of online technologies viewed as a painpoint by nearly one fifth of SMEs (19%) in February 2015 – but now dropping to 16%.

Tom Caesar on the growth trajectory of his bootstrapped, digital-first finance start-up

Tom Caesar co-founded Positive Group, a financial services provider, with his father Mark in 2009. The duo, both veterans of the industry, initially operated the start-up out of their home office in Brisbane. Rather than take out a loan or engage investors, they resolved to bootstrap the operation. This decision, together with the company’s transformation into a digital-first business, has proved profitable.

After spending the first few years chipping away at an initial debt of around $45,000, Positive Group, which now consists of multiple finance business including Positive Lending Solutions (PLS), began to enjoy consistent year-on-year growth. Last year, PLS debuted at #21 on the AFR’s Fast 100, after turning over more than $7 million, and Positive Group as a whole achieved a 176% increase in revenue.

Why are ASIC and Kate Carnell teaming up to take on the big banks over small business loans? A SmartCompany explainer

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) is teaming up with the Small Business Ombudsman to ensure banks remove unfair contract terms from their small business loans agreements, claiming many are not meeting the requirements under new laws which came into effect last year.

Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has gone head to head with the big banks in recent weeks, after handing down recommendations from her 2016 inquiry into small business lending practices.

Afterpay inks BigCommerce deal

Fintech start-up Afterpay is about to extend its reach with the listed company’s payments solution set to find a home on one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms.

Melbourne-based Afterpay has entered into an agreement with global e-commerce platform, BigCommerce, with the partnership to see online retailers on the BigCommerce platform gain access to Afterpay’s “buy now, receive now, pay later” service.

Nothing will change if the fintech bubble bursts: Spiros Margaris

One of the world’s top fintech influencers talks to finder.com.au about the looming fintech “correction” and the development of innovation.

The fintech industry is one of “noise”. Search for #fintech on Twitter and you’ll be assaulted with a barrage of articles, opinions and photos from conferences across the world. One voice that cuts through the “noise” is Spiros Margaris.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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