CUA kicks off its own startup partnership efforts

Financial services provider launches hackathon in Brisbane to come up with new customer products and services

Member-owned financial services provider, CUA, has become the latest corporate to seek innovation through startup partnerships, launching its first hackathon to find new products and solutions for customers.

CUA’s first fully-owned hackathon, which is being hosted with technology startup hubs, River City Labs, is designed to find new financial solutions around key life events for customers, such as purchasing their first home or the birth of a child. The theme of the event is ‘The Forces of Attraction’ and will be open to CUA employees, entrepreneurs, startups and developers.

Teams will be encouraged to design, develop and validate their ideas in individual teams. They’ll then be able to pitch to a panel of judges including entrepreneur and Shake Tank mentor, Steve Baxter, along with CUA CEO, Rob Goudswaard. The winning team will receive $5000 in cash as well as a mentoring session with Baxter.

The hackathon is being held in Brisbane between 4 and 6 August.

CUA’s general manager of business transformation and technology, Sue Coulter, said the initiative is all about generate fresh ideas that can improve member experiences.

“This initiative is an exciting opportunity for CUA members, employees and no-members to work together for mutual benefit,” she said. “It is also an excellent avenue to hear from our employees who are familiar with the CUA business and gain some fresh ideas and new perspectives form outside CUA on how we can better cater for our members’ financial needs.”

CUA’s senior manager of innovation and strategy, Melissa Witheriff, told CMO the business had been leveraging the Brisbane startup community over the past 12 months, along with Sydney-based innovation hub, Stone and Chalk. All of this was driven by the need to bring more diverse thinking into the business.

“With the disruption that’s being experience in fintech, it’s important for us to work closely with the startup community as well as engage internal staff,” he said. “The way we’re focusing on this is very hands-on and proactive. By running our own event, we’re engaging entrepreneurial people to identify great ideas that could meet member needs and turn them into a value creation opportunity.”

According to a recent US report by the Association of National Advertisers, marketers are increasingly turning to startups for innovation, as well as to leverage emerging technologies.


Among brands locally to have embarked on startup initiatives are Mondelez International, through its Mobile Futures Program; FMCG giant, Unilever, through its Unilever Foundry global program; and NRMA ,through its Jumpstart program.

CMO’s latest print issue for 2016 includes a special report on how corporates can ensure their partnerships with startups are successful. Download your free copy of the digital edition here now.

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