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Allens signs on as foundation partner of Australia's first fintech start-up hub

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Allens has signed on as one of the corporate foundation members of Stone and Chalk, an independent entity created to foster and accelerate the development of world-class Australian fintech start-ups.

Allens is the only law firm that is a foundation member of the fintech hub, to be situated in Sydney's CBD, with other foundation members including ANZ, Westpac, Amazon, American Express, KPMG, Macquarie Group and Woolworths as foundation members.

These foundation members have contributed more than $2 million to establish the hub, with further support from the New South Wales Government.

Stone and Chalk will provide a range of services to support Australian fintech start-ups to grow and succeed, including subsidised working space, industry networks, expertise and mentoring, and access to capital.

The location of Stone and Chalk, its chair and the corporate partners were announced yesterday by the NSW Premier, Mike Baird. The Premier highlighted the significance of this initiative for NSW and Australia's future economic prosperity; in particular, through the creation of new jobs and opportunities, in what is an extremely important sector in size and scope.

Speaking after the launch, Niranjan Arasaratnam, Allens Partner and head of the firm's TMT sector and emerging companies practice, said the creation of a fintech hub is a crucially important step in investing in the next generation of growth and innovation in Australia.

'Fintech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the financial services industry globally and Australia has many of the ingredients to be a successful fintech centre,' Mr Arasaratnam said.

'This is an important opportunity for Allens to help drive the type of innovation and collaboration required to ensure Australia's ongoing global competitiveness across the financial services sector. In addition to financial support, Allens has advised on the establishment and governance of the hub, and will continue to be actively involved in supporting its success.

Mr Arasaratnam said it was a natural fit for the firm to be involved in Stone and Chalk.

'At Allens, we actively encourage a culture of doing things differently, and not being afraid to fail. We know these are important hallmarks of any successful, progressive company.

'Entrepreneurs starting up new commercial endeavours have a unique set of challenges ahead of them; they have a legal and regulatory minefield to navigate, with limited resources to respond to these efficiently and cost-effectively.

'We are committed to working with fledgling companies and start-ups as a partnership, and to provide them with relevant expertise, within an affordable, cost-efficient structure. It's good business and the right thing to do.'

The firm's commitment to Stone and Chalk comes as the firm launches its Accelerate practice, which is designed to solve the problems start-ups face, by ensuring legal guidance is accessible, affordable and efficiently delivered in line with the company's needs.

'We are excited about the potential of our Accelerate practice,' Mr Arasaratnam said.

'Our firm has a lot to offer a start-up, including business experience and insight, and geographic access and knowledge. We also have a team of young and dynamic lawyers who understand the importance of start-ups in the modern economy and who are driving our involvement in this space.

'Allens is more than 190 years old and we have client relationships that go back more than 150 years. Some of our oldest client relationships stem from us working with those organisations through their establishment. And we haven't stopped our support to new businesses since.'

Ends

Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.