Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator 2018 what-is-fintech


One of the questions we get asked a lot is “what is fintech” and “does my business qualify?”. The answer to this is as long as a piece of string. We’ve outlined some of the themes and facets of fintech below – our recommendation though? If you’ve got an idea in the fintech space, apply now.


We’re a team made up of travellers and have seen firsthand the way we pay for things and how we manage and track payments is becoming more diverse and easier to use. Some exciting startups playing in the payments space include:


Xero is the classic example of a high growth New Zealand based company. Offering small businesses a way to keep visibility of their cash flow, including invoices, expenses, bank transactions and payroll, Xero has become a firm favourite with small business owners and accountants alike. They went public in 2007 with fantastic accounting software and have since expanded internationally. Now, with their customer base, they test new features rapidly and continue their lean startup-like growth.

Ant Financial

Ant Financial is the financial tool of Alibaba which originated from Alipay. They aim to “bring the world equal opportunities” through a reliable, safe and – most importantly – open financial service. Working to form a more inclusive global system Ant Financial has expanded dramatically since its original founding in 2014 – now to include the subsidiaries Ant Fortune, Ant Financial Cloud and several other financial services.

Financial Literacy

The subject of accessibility and understanding in regards to money meets with many of the following startups working to improve financial literacy globally.


A New Zealand startup on a mission, Banqer is bringing financial education straight into the education system. Sponsored by Kiwibank, Banqer has been working with teachers and schools directly to develop their virtual economy-based classroom tool. Within three years, they’ve reached 20% of primary and intermediate schools in NZ, their software used in 1,300 classrooms by 42,000 students – and in 2017, CEO Kendall Flutey announced that they are working to expand offshore.

Accounting Pod

One of our KFA 1 alumni, Accounting Pod works to support accounting and finance students for the deeper understanding and hands-on experience needed within the industry. Created by two Queenstown-based chartered accountants, Accounting Pod provides a safe, sandbox environment for students, using real data to give students the most experiential learning experience before they graduate and go into a business.


In a world that’s becoming ever-more digital, it’s not surprising that many security-focused fintechs are being developed to ease our minds and make sure that our money, and lifestyles, are protected. Here’s a company that has fintech ‘locked down’.


Iowa-based Dwolla launched in 2010. They concentrate on integrating with the US banking system, with products such as Transfer allowing for mass payment options and Access API providing payment solutions with instant bank account verification and the ability to verify identities. Dwolla’s API is available as a white label product and is currently used by US companies such as GOAT (a sneaker-marketplace), Popular Pays (connecting brands and creators) and Relay (a restaurant courier platform),


Whether it’s our businesses, our homes, our cars, or our phones (or even ourselves) – we all hate it when things go wrong. Protecting them is where these fintechs help us bounce back.


A concept developed by on-demand drivers, for flexible-working drivers, Zego offers commercial insurance to accommodate the part-time, side-hustle drivers. They provide flexible insurance, where customers can pay only for the insurance needed during times drivers are working, whether that’s “one hour or twenty. You only pay when you are working.” In an economy where many are working additional jobs to get ahead, being able to save when you’re not using a vehicle commercially means no longer paying over the odds and also makes such jobs more accessible.


Bringing the combination of artificial intelligence and transparency to the insurance industry, US-based Lemonade provides insurance to renters and homeowners. With a simple to understand fee-system, Lemonade has the additional draw of ‘Giveback’, which – after paying claims and the people who make that happen – any leftover money goes to causes groups of policyholders (peers) believe in.


Identity Regulations

New emerging technologies are constantly being experimented and innovated; we have to be just as innovative and experimental with our identity security technology.

Bio Catch

Bio Catch is protecting their customer’s identities while being a seamless digital experience. They do this by developing a behavioural biometric profile for each user and, through this profile, Bio Catch is able to identify a full spectrum of human and non-human cybersecurity threats.


Building something we are passionate about like our educations or our homes can always be challenging to save for. People take out loans for these all of the time, with fintech we are able to make these loans much more bespoke, improving loan repayment rates, and decreasing loan payment costs.


SoFi has aimed to improve the likelihood of their members making their payments. Focusing on social finance, the social aspect is something SoFi takes that very seriously. Their community is full of people trying to accomplish many things, and SoFi wants to get to them and for them to them to get to know each other.

They look behind just credit scores and debt-to-income ratios to consider factors like estimated cash flow, career, and education. Most lenders calculate the risk of loans not being paid back and add that to the cost, while SoFi, with those thought out factors, can increase the likelihood of loans being paid back while offering a lower rate.


We’ve all heard of investment bankers; most are aware of property investment – there are plenty of fintechs exploring the world of investments to make it more accessible to the Average Jill or Jo, and here are but a few.


We can’t finish this rundown without mentioning our KFA 1 alumni, Sharesies, whose aim – to allow somebody with $50 to be able to invest just like somebody with $50,000 – has lead to their huge following in NZ – with over 7,500 users within 6 months of launching.


An investment platform targeted at women, tailored to factor in the differences in female income, career paths and average longer lifespan, Ellevest aims to help women meet their financial goals. Ellevest is redefining ‘for women’ to mean working with and for women, to enable easy and smart portfolio investment, with greater accessibility.

Asset management

This isn’t an obvious one – until you redefine ‘assets’ or ‘goods’ to mean ‘anything with monetary value’… Then asset management becomes as clear-cut in fintech as a stockbroker.


Another of our KFA 1 alumni, Tapi (formerly Flatfish) makes it easier for property managers to take care of routine maintenance and repairs. Now with over nine thousand properties managed through the Tapi platform in New Zealand alone, they’re working to expand into new markets by the beginning of 2018.


San Fran-based Digit are aiming to bring greater awareness of spending habits to maximise savings. Using a combination of technology and behavioural psychology to analyse the relationship between income and spending to help people manage their money, Digit helps people save everyday without impacting their everyday bills.


Applications to Kiwi FinTech close 24 May. Get in touch now!

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