An ecosystem partnership approach to the Kiwi FinTech Accelerator

Open banking is creating challenges for existing financial institutions. The powerful wave of new competition heralded by the rise of FinTech has led to an ecosystem approach to foster innovative partnerships. We talk with some of the partners in this year’s Accelerator programme about why they’re excited about FinTech, and this year’s cohort of startup and scale-up companies.   


TimD’Shea, Kiwibank 

There’s a lot of great ideas in the cohort this year, and it’s not just the same old stuff. There are genuinely new ways for people to buy homes, systems to make sure Kiwis are getting financial products that are right for them, and a way to boost income for charities with no extra cost to donors – to name just a few. It’s also great to see the accelerator continue to get bigger and better each year. More ventures, more partners, and more innovation – it’s a great indicator for the health of the NZ Fintech ecosystem.


Chris Barton, Xero 

I get to work with some really innovative tech teams designing cool stuff in financial services. My major focus is helping the teams get access to the Xero and Fintech community and help support their business plans. I’m most excited about introducing some awesome new app partners to Xero customers!



Lauren Ware, Visa 

As a global payments technology company, Visa plays a key role in enabling the commerce ecosystem. From established banks and merchants through to early stage Fintech startups, we have a truly diverse range of partners. As much as we’re looking forward to sharing our experience and expertise, we’re excited about the amazing opportunity to learn from this group of entrepreneurs. Advice for the teams? Stay curious, be bold and have fun along the way.”


Andrew Rushton, SBS Bank

We will be supporting one of the ventures (Loop.local) by hosting them within our head office in Invercargill. Making sure we set Loop. Local up for success is incredibly important to us. With the Fintech sector in New Zealand accelerating at a rate of more than 10 per cent faster than the global average, we think that this is a real opportunity to develop something that can make a difference not only in the FinTech world, but also New Zealand communities and we can’t wait to see how this develops for our Southland innovators.”

Andy Higgs, 

The calibre of startups and projects is impressive with many already demonstrating market traction and scalability already.  I am most excited about exploring the synergies between the ventures, adopting a shared approach to customer identity and connecting the fintech ecosystem around a customer-centric architecture. My advice to teams is to actively explore opportunities to collaborate with programme partners and startups. There are huge problems to solve and significant barriers to change. You simply won’t get there on your own.

Rhiannon McKinnin, Kiwi Wealth

I’m excited about two things really. Firstly, I am excited about Demo Day – who isn’t?! It’s amazing to watch these companies pitch their ideas and see how far they have progressed over the course of the programme. Some of the companies on the demo day (or all!) will be the financial services companies of the future and it’s exciting to be there, where it all began. On a more Kiwi Wealth level, we’re interested in a more micro basis of which teams may fit well with us and whether there are any partnership opportunities for us. We love working with innovative and cutting-edge companies and it’s great to have a presence in the start-up community.”


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