In the 12 months since Commonwealth Bank officially launched its venture scaling entity, x15ventures, the company has gone from strength to strength, building four successful businesses and acquiring a fifth.

At its official launch in February 2020, x15ventures unveiled its first two ventures, Home-in, a digital home buying concierge; and Vonto, a business insights aggregation tool.

Since then, x15ventures announced the addition of a further two businesses, Credit Savvy and Backr. 

Backr, a web app designed to help first-time business owners through the process of starting a business, has already helped more than 1,000 businesses get off the ground since it launched in October 2020.

Meanwhile, Credit Savvy, which allows customers to view their credit score for free, has provided more than 31 million credit scores to Australian consumers since it was first launched in 2015.

Toby Norton-Smith, x15ventures Managing Director, said the venture scaling entity had grown and evolved significantly since its inception last year.

Speaking to CBA Newsroom, Mr Norton-Smith said the growth for x15ventures went beyond the number of businesses launched, but also the amount of behind the scenes work that has helped to build, launch and grow the ventures.

“The last 12 months have been spent building the pipes back into CBA, the next 12 months will be about using those pipes and scaling those ventures. We now have the right environment. We know exactly how to integrate businesses into CBA. That was arguably our biggest achievement last year and the one that excites me the most. The year ahead is now about opening the pipes and scaling our ventures.”

Mr Norton-Smith said while no-one could have predicted a global pandemic would hit shortly after launching x15ventures, COVID had certainly helped to sharpen the company’s sense of purpose.

“When we first launched x15ventures, we had no idea that within a month, we would be staring down the barrel of a global pandemic that bring world economies to their knees,” he said.

“Despite the environmental challenges we have faced over the last year, x15ventures has been able to grow in line with our targets and expectations.

“We have four successful businesses and today we announce the acquisition of our fifth business, Doshii, a cloud platform that connects food apps with a hospitality venue’s point of sale system.”

While the acquisition of Doshii represents a slight shift in x15ventures original business strategy of building companies from the ground up, Mr Norton-Smith said the organisation’s primary focus – to provide businesses with the right environment to flourish and empower Australian consumers like never before – hasn’t wavered.

“If the last 12 months has taught us anything, it’s the importance of flexibility,” Mr Norton-Smith said.

“Customers are increasingly looking for leading, innovative digital solutions. At x15ventures, we are committed to providing Australians with best-in-class technological solutions. And, to do that, we need to be working with the best businesses.

“Doshii, a modern cloud platform and marketplace, brings together venues, Point of Sale Systems (POS) and apps in the one place for small and large hospitality venues and outlets.”

Managing anything from reservations and online delivery services, to customer loyalty programs and modern-day payments, Doshii curates these apps into a single marketplace and makes them easy to connect to the venue’s POS – reducing errors, costs and delays for the business and opening up new possibilities for more customers and more orders.

Doshii also delivers new experiences for patrons, allowing them to order and pay at table. It saves them time and reduces error for the staff behind the counter, making for a better customer experience.

 “When we launched x15ventures last year, our mission was to bring new solutions to market that empower customers as never before and Doshii allows us to do just that. Doshii will allow businesses to streamline and digitise a task that has, for many, been a manual exercise up until now,” Mr Norton-Smith said.

He went onto state the acquisition of Doshii means x15ventures is well on target to delivering 25 ventures in its first five years of operation.

“Launching 25 businesses in the first five years was an objective we wanted to share publically in February 2020, as it was a good measure of the pace and ambition set for x15ventures,” he said.

“It’s not the ultimate and end objective for x15ventures. We want to create new, exceptional experiences for customers. To do that, you need a good portfolio and we are going to keep our foot to the floor.

“We’ve had great success with our businesses to date and the future currently looks very bright for x15ventures.”

To support its rapid growth, x15ventures recently appointed three fintech specialists to its senior leadership team.

“Our recent leadership appointments speak to x15 and CBA’s commitment to bring the right external experience and challenge from the Australian technology, investment and fintech community, to ensure x15 delivers on its promise,” Mr Norton-Smith said. 

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