Australian fintechs rally around neobank Volt and its staff

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Australian fintechs rally around neobank Volt and its staff

Show support for those impacted by sudden closure.

Australia's fintech community has rallied around Volt Bank and its employees after the neobank yesterday said it would hand back its licence and cease offering banking services.

Volt said it had been "unable to secure the funding [it] needed to continue”. Customers need to withdraw their balances by July 5.

While questions about the long-term viability of neobanks quickly resurfaced, they were countered by messages of support from the domestic fintech sector.

Paypa Plane - which counts CBA among its investors - CEO and founder Simone Joyce wrote on Linkedin that Volt’s closure is “really sad… but it’s sad for what it is, not for the outlook in general”.

“It is sad because when a fintech dies, so does a little bit of the soul of the founders and the team,” Joyce wrote.

“140 people came to work every day to do things that mattered and that they believed in. This is the backbone of a fintech - they are built by passionate and dedicated people.

“It must hurt to have that thing not exist anymore.”

Joyce added that “Volt leaves the ecosystem with a legacy” that "helped [financial regulator APRA] understand their role in supporting innovation, in arguably its hardest vertical.”

“Overall Volt taught us that no matter the talent of the team, the vision of the founders, the alignment of the regulators or the strength of the mission, funding matters and we really need to get that right in [Australia]," Joyce added.

B2B payments provider Monoova co-founder and CEO Christian Westerlind Wigstrom expressed "dismay" at the news.

"A great story with a sad end," Wigstrom wrote.

"Monoova is here to help in any way we can. To Volt staff looking for positions, please get in touch. To Volt clients looking for payments support, we are ready for you."

Wpay - Woolworths' payments platform business - head of technology Joshua Aim also invited Volt staff to consider open engineering and product roles at the company.

Identity and fraud prevention platform maker FrankieOne's co-founder and CTO Aaron Chipper wrote: "Today is going to be tough. So is tomorrow, and the days after too ... But you should also hold your heads high for blazing a trail that has inspired so many of us in Australian fintech."

FrankieOne is used by Westpac as part of the latter's award-winning banking-as-a-service (BaaS) offering.

Fellow FrankieOne staffer Rizwan Nagrial - who was previously with Xinja, another Australian neobank that shuttered its operations - urged Volt staff to "dwell on the good times and remember what you accomplished along the way."

"I’ve been there and even after a year it still hurts," he wrote.

EY's director of fintech and payments Adam Caines also lent support to Volt and its staff.

“The naysayers will jump on this but let's not belittle those that try to disrupt and innovate, whatever the outcome the team deserves the respect for building something and trying to make financial services better," he wrote.

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