Stone & Chalk rides the fintech disruption wave
The launch for fintech hub Stone & Chalk was oversubscribed. By 7pm, 500 people had descended on the party, donning coloured T-shirts to signal where they belonged. Red T-shirts designated institutional sponsors, green was for resident start-ups, charcoal for friends, blue for government and pink for media (funny). The happiest people wore green.
The 120 residents from 41 start-ups who had won the chance to work on a floor of the AMP Centre, found themselves regaled by bank chiefs, politicians, venture capitalists, accountancy heads, lobbyists and each other.
The biggest boast was: “I used to be a banker.” And it was said by those in green, who hoped to disrupt the billion dollar revenue streams wrapped up in the 21 sponsoring institutions. This was a curious celebration.
The pairing of legacy institutions with infant technology companies within the space of a hub is meant to result in collaboration. It’s where big, established money meets nimble, digital upstarts — and tries to do business. But how do you collaborate with forces that are most successful when they destroy you?
Ever since Clayton Christensen wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma almost 20 years ago, institutions have been wrestling with the concept of sustaining technologies and disruptive technologies. Sustaining technologies enable existing companies to improve existing businesses. Disruptive technologies usually destroy existing businesses. For taxis, GPS was a sustaining technology and Uber is a disruptive technology.