Monday, 23 May 2016 12:23

NAB, Westpac, Qantas invest in Data Republic $10.5 million funding round Featured

By
Data Republic CEO Paul McCarney Data Republic CEO Paul McCarney

Two of Australia’s major banks — National Australia and Westpac — and Qantas have led investment in data exchange platform Data Republic in the company’s first major funding round.

The Sydney-based tech start-up has its coffers boosted with investment by Qantas Loyalty, NAB’s venture capital fund, NAB Ventures, and Westpac’s ReInventure Fund as part of a $10.5 million Series A investment round.

Data Republic co-founder and chief executive, Paul McCarney, said the investment reinforced the growing stature of local start-up ventures and their contribution to Australia’s reputation as an innovation hub, and would help underpin the company’s expansion strategy into the United States later this year.

“With this important investor support, we can continue to help businesses unlock the value of their data and drive more relevant products and services, but in a way which prioritises customer privacy,” McCarney, said.

“There’s enormous social and business productivity benefits to opening up data for exchange, but the privacy, security and rights of the consumer have to come first.”

Established in 2014, Data Republic’s technology offers a marketplace for data exchange between organisations wanting to enrich their own customer insights and provides companies, governments and not-for-profits with a secure platform for data exchange.

McCarney said Data Republic and Westpac have partnered to develop the world’s first data banking service, allowing corporate clients who have obtained appropriate permissions from their customers to securely separate and store customer information on dedicated bank-grade security infrastructure, while authorising broader data insights for analysis and exchange.

Danny Gilligan, co-founder of Westpac Reinventure, said: “Given the increasing prevalence of data sharing between organisations, the creation of ‘banking infrastructure for data’, to enable it to flow as freely, with the same trust, security and privacy as money, is critical to moving towards a data-driven economy. Both Data Republic and the security which the data bank infrastructure offers are important innovations in this regard.”  

According to Todd Forest, managing director, NAB Ventures, the investment in Data Republic was an “exciting first step for NAB’s innovation fund”.

“Data Republic is doing some really innovative work to improve the personalisation experience for customers. This strategic equity partnership gives us a seat at the table to help develop Data Republic’s capabilities and ultimately improve the experience for NAB customers in the future.

“We know that banking is undergoing significant transformation in the digital space and the simple aim of NAB Ventures is to help ensure we can embrace the right changes to deliver new customer solutions.”

Qantas Loyalty chief executive Lesley Grant said the investment in Data Republic was the first of its kind in the 95-year history of the Qantas Group.

“At Qantas we’ve seen the benefit that customer-led innovation can provide to businesses and their customers. Co-investing in Data Republic with NAB and Westpac provides a great opportunity for further innovation, by allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of what our customers want.

“We hold the privacy of our customers and their data with the highest respect, so the high level of governance and security that Data Republic applies is highly appealing.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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