Startups help consumers with smarter solutions for managing their money
Three Brisbane startups with big ideas to change the financial services landscape for consumers
and small businesses are preparing to seek out investors and corporate partners after graduating
from an intensive 12-week pre-accelerator program.
The ideas include a virtual piggy bank for spare change, an automated payments platform for
construction contractors and an idea to simplify how individuals manage and verify their identity.
The startup teams – uStash, Fair and Square and MiiFile – are all looking to take their ideas to the
next level, after making significant progress in developing and testing their ideas in market through
a sponsored pre-accelerator program run by Fortitude Valley startup hub River City Labs and CUA,
Australia’s largest credit union.
The teams graduated from the River City Labs and CUA ‘Conduit’ startup pre-accelerator program
this month, as the 5th cohort to complete a sponsored residency through River City Labs and CUA.
A fourth team, Yaalax, also graduated from the program after testing an idea for a peer-to-peer
marketplace for on-demand services.
A number of previous graduates of the CUA and RCL program are already kicking goals following
the mentoring and support they received during the program. They include Bidhive, who are using
automation to manage tender processes, and Kapiche, a startup improving customer satisfaction
levels with unstructured feedback data.
Mitchell Herlihy, the founder of the uStash app, which uses round-ups on everyday transactions to
help people save money or eliminate debt, described the program as an invaluable experience.
“Being around other startups at River City Labs has made us more determined than ever to make
uStash a success,” he said.
CUA Chief of Operations for Transformation and Subsidiaries, Steve Chugg, congratulated the
startups on completing the program.
“CUA views startups as a powerful source for future growth in the financial sector and by working
closely with the graduates of the Conduit program over the past 12 weeks, we’re also helping to
drive a culture of innovation within our organisation,” he said.
In addition to uStash, the other startups to complete the latest round of the CUA Conduit program
1. Fair and Square – a collaborative platform automatically managing construction payments
in a transparent and verifiable manner, to ensure contractors meet their obligations to pay,
everyone on time every time, fair and square
2. MiiFile – offering a single source of truth for identity and licence documents which is
verifiable and auditable, MiiFile provides individuals with complete control of their identity
documents through a secure collaborative data gateway
3. Yaalax – a dynamic, peer-to-peer marketplace for on-demand services that instantly
matches available suppliers with job requests through a state-of-the-art and sleek user
River City Labs CEO Peta Ellis commended CUA for its continued involvement in the program.
“It’s been delightful to watch the growth of these companies over the past 12 weeks and the RCL
team has enjoyed being a part of their journeys through weekly workshops and check-ins,” Ms Ellis
This is CUA’s 5th year of supporting River City Labs. The completion of this latest Conduit
program, which replaced the previous Sponsored Entrepreneur Program, brings the number of
startups sponsored by CUA to 29.
Melissa Witheriff, CUA’s Head of Digital Innovation, described the project as a channel to support
early stage startups with potential to scale globally.
“We view our program as an ideal step for founders to first test their big ideas, before going on to
raise investment or join an accelerator,” she said.
“This is part of CUA’s innovation strategy to not only tap into innovative new ideas to improve our
member experiences, but also to help foster Australia’s startup community as a whole.”
For all the latest news and announcements, follow River City Labs on twitter at @RiverCityLabs and CUA at @CUA_Connect
End Media Release.