Regtech startup LAB Group expands into global markets
LAB Group is an Australian regtech (regulation technology) startup that provides compliance services to the financial services industry.
The company has adopted a global expansion strategy in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It set up its first European office in 2020 and has doubled its workforce in the first six months of 2021.
In this case study, Nick Boudrie, CEO, LAB Group explains how the company has evolved, including:
- how his company navigates the regulatory environment
- the challenges and opportunities in regtech
- the role Austrade played in the company’s expansion strategy.
Australia is a growing hub for regtech expertise
Regulatory compliance is a critical aspect of risk management in the finance industry. It is also highly complex. For example, disclosure and privacy rules pull banks in opposite directions.
‘Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) legislation require disclosures and audit trails,’ says Boudrie. ‘Meanwhile data privacy laws mean that finance companies must adhere to strict information-security rules.’
LAB Group helps finance companies to navigate this difficult path. The company’s cloud-based services helps clients to manage customer enrolments so the process complies with finance regulations. This includes the use of biometric verification.
The challenges of creating regtech exports
According to Boudrie, creating an exportable regtech product is a constant challenge.
‘The regtech domain is unique,’ says Boudrie. ‘On the one hand it requires global consistencies and compatibility. On the other hand, regtech has to adhere to local laws and practices.
‘We have created standardised workflows and configurations for these jurisdictions, as well as industry verticals to minimise customisation requirements and speed up implementations. We also support them through the technology adoption process as their use of the platform expands, and as it evolves with ongoing regulatory and technological changes.’
Role of Austrade in overseas expansion
Austrade has worked with LAB Group to help them grow in overseas markets. For example, Austrade invited LAB Group to join the Australian FinTech Mission at key trade events.
Two of these events were ‘Money 20/20’ in Singapore in 2019 and the Paris FinTech Forum 2020. These events provided opportunities to network and make introductions. This enabled executives to meet potential partners and local regulators.
Boudrie says that participation in trade missions has helped his company grasp the subtleties of the regtech landscape in different markets. Attendance also helped LAB Group make key decisions about product roadmaps and market entry in different jurisdictions.
‘Austrade helped us to set up some of our global operations, and to structure them’, he says. ‘They also helped with product promotion and distribution.’
Made in Australia, for the world
LAB Group now has an impressive client list across the region. This includes customers in New Zealand and Japan. The company raised $4 million from Costa Asset Management in March 2021. It will use the capital to expand into new markets in Europe and Asia.
‘Regtech is well established in Australia, but we lag behind other countries when it comes to raising funds,’ says Boudrie. ‘A part of that is due to the lack of exposure and experience. To that extent, Austrade has been a valuable partner.’
‘Our Australian experience has helped us develop a robust suite of solutions,’ he adds. ‘To expand, however, we need to understand specific markets. With new capital, we look forward to consolidating our offerings and expanding our global footprint.’
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