InvestmentLink, Australia\u2019s largest independent financial data source, has created a new data grant program that aims to support emerging Australian companies in the highly competitive fintech sector.The grant will give selected companies access to a feed of financial account and investment fund data at no cost for a period of 18 months. It offers free access, support and mentoring to qualifying fintechs to data feed services. InvestmentLink CTO, Wayne Robinson, said the program will provide a significant boost to those companies awarded a grant, and help them demonstrate their value proposition to the market.\u201cIt is aimed at fintechs in their start-up phase or those with existing products that may not have built data-specific solutions, either thinking it was too hard or that account-level data feeds weren't available,\u201d Robinson told CIO Australia. Calling it exciting times for the Australian fintech space, he said there are a number of emerging companies that have the potential to make a very serious impact on the market and deliver real innovation to consumers.\u201cGiven the nature of the Australian market, particularly the dominance of the major players, they face a number of challenges - one of them - getting access to sufficient data to be able to demonstrate what they can offer the market. Given the financial constraints that most start-ups face, we are hoping that access to the most comprehensive data feed in Australia at no cost, for a limited period, will provide a real boost.\u201dAsked the main objectives of creating the grant, Robinson said it aims to increase the onboarding experience and long-term usefulness of many products in the fintech space. \u201cIn many instances, new users are asked numerous (and sometimes complicated questions), about their financial situation that can cause them to put off or abandon the process they've started to get their financial situation on-track.\u201cBeing able to provide access to a person's financial situation to the software they're using decreases this friction and allows the products to put them on the right path.\u201dHe said there\u2019s a strong need for a grant program such as this given software providers struggle with sourcing data feeds. \u201cWe were seeing and hearing time and time again that software providers were saying account data doesn't exist, or the financial institutions are too hard to deal with or that the whole process of getting data feeds is too complex, timely and expensive,\u201d he said. \u201cMany in the fintech space have come to the conclusion that data feeds are too costly or complex to build their product around. This is simply not true and we at InvestmentLink are prepared to demonstrate how quickly, easily and cost-effectively they can have regularly updated, personal account data as a core feature of their product, and how they can use this to drive greater value for their end-users."He said end-users expect their apps and services to provide them with realtime information and suggestions on what to do with it. \u201cThe days of users blindly trusting advisers to manage their financial life based on an annual in-person conversation are over.\u201dAsked the selection process, he said the team will review the submitted applications on its website (https:\/\/investmentlink.com.au\/grants.php). \u201cWe will review the applicants and determine those we believe can make best use of aggregated account information in their current or future products.\u201dInvestmentLink has been offering data services to the financial services sector for over 20 years. It collects data from over 600 funds, platforms, wraps and other accounts. The data is currently used by over 12,000 financial planners and 200 dealer groups. The InvestmentLink platform holds data on over 4.4 million client accounts with more than $40 billion in funds under management.The grant is being made available to Australian fintech start-ups and will give them access to 600 data feeds. It will include 500 live accounts, with access to test accounts and the InvestmentLink API.