Westpac NZ’s venture capital division, Red Bird Ventures, has taken the lead in a $1.4m funding round for Akahu. The Kiwi FinTech firm also saw participation from co-investors K1W1 and NZ7 Investments in this round.
Akahu is recognised as New Zealand’s foremost provider of open finance connectivity. Its primary objective is to simplify and enhance the bridge between banks and third-party entities. This optimisation allows consumers to explore new avenues for payments and exercise greater discretion over third-party access to their account data.
Through this financial endorsement, Westpac expects to derive valuable insights, further equipping them to design and implement open banking solutions efficiently.
Red Bird Ventures’ Senior Manager, Mark Colley, expressed the bank’s enthusiasm in harnessing Akahu’s proficiency in open banking to craft innovative banking experiences for their patrons. Colley praised Akahu’s consistent record of innovation and stated his belief in its potential, especially as New Zealand steadily integrates open banking owing to industry dedication and evolving consumer data rights legislation.
Akahu’s CEO and founder, Ben Lynch, highlighted the growing traction of open banking and expressed his pride in partnering with Westpac. He reminisced about the initial phases when open banking examples were scanty, drawing a contrast with 2023, which witnesses the launch of several open banking-capable products each month. Lynch accentuated the significance of collaboration between banks and stressed on Akahu’s unwavering commitment to partner with any bank in New Zealand, aiming to empower their customers similarly.
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