Data pooling competition heats up as Data Republic secures $10.5m investment boost

The Sydney-based tech startup announced three leading companies as investors in its first major funding round

The data pooling sector has recently seen only a few major players, until now, with Sydney-based tech startup Data Republic announcing its $10.5 million investment boost from three leading Aussie companies.

In a significant boost for the Sydney-based tech startup, Qantas Loyalty, NAB’s venture capital fund, NAB Ventures, and Westpac’s ReInventure Fund have become strategic equity partners as part of Data Republic’s first major funding round.

The investment reinforces the competitive potential of the local startup ventures and is also set to underpin Data Republic’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,” Data Republic’s co-founder and chief executive, Paul 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 who want to enrich their own customer insights. According to MCarney, the productivity impacts from governed data exchange extend way beyond business, and into social benefits like improved insight into areas such as mental health and public education.

“This isn’t just about better marketing; it’s about empowering business, government and social organisations to unlock the value of data and drive more accurate socio-economic reform and decision making,” he said.

To ensure sufficient data security, privacy and governance, Data Republic and Westpac have already partnered on what they claim is 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 bank-grade security infrastructure, while authorising broader data insights for analysis and exchange.

“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," Westpac Reinventure's co-founder, Danny Gilligan, said. "Both Data Republic and the security which the data bank infrastructure offers are important innovations in this regard.”

NAB Ventures managing director, Todd Forest, said the investment was an exciting first step for NAB’s innovation fund and the equity partnership gives us the bank a seat at the table to help develop Data Republic’s capabilities and ultimately improve the experience for NAB customers in the future.

“Data Republic is doing some really innovative work to improve the personalisation experience for customers,” he said. “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.”

Meanwhile Qantas Loyalty CEO, Lesley Grant , said the investment in Data Republic is the first of its kind in the 95 year history of the Qantas Group and found the high level of governance and security that Data Republic applies highly appealing.”

“At Qantas we’ve seen the benefit that customer-led innovation can provide to businesses and their customers,” she said. “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."

Leading Australian law firm Allens has designed the governance framework that delivers world’s best practice in terms of privacy and security.

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