National Australia Bank, Westpac and Qantas have invested $10.5 million in Sydney-based startup Data Republic, which is aiming to build a marketplace for data exchange between major corporations.
Data Republic provides a legal framework and technology platform for companies, governments and not-for-profits to securely share and exchange anonymised data with a view to gaining deeper insights into customer behaviour.
The round is significant for both NAB and Qantas, representing the first investment by the bank's recently established fintech venture fund, and the first tech startup investment by the Australian airline.
Founded by Paul McCarney and Danny Gilligan - the co-founder of Westpac's venture arm - in 2014, Data Republic is already working with Westpac on an initiative billed as "the world’s first data banking service". This allows corporate clients that have obtained appropriate permissions from their customers to securely separate and store customer information on dedicated bankgrade security infrastructure.
Says Gilligan: “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.”
Todd Forest, managing director, NAB Ventures says: “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."
The firm, which is currently housed in Sydney startup space Stone & Chalk, says it plans to use the funding to expand into the US.