Westpac New Zealand to crowdsource mobile banking apps

Westpac is launching an initiative to crowdsource ideas for mobile banking apps from New Zealand developers and designers with up to $70,000 of incentives and the opportunity for those chosen to take their app to the world.

Westpac is the first New Zealand bank to crowdsource and collaborate in this way with the highly skilled New Zealand developer and designer community. The objective of The Westpac App Challenge is for developers and designers to use their experience as a bank customer and their expertise in development to make a process or service faster and easier via a mobile app.

Head of Digital, Simon Pomeroy, said app developers and designers are in a unique position and collaborating with them is an obvious thing to do.

“Like most New Zealanders they are the customer of a bank and like many Kiwis there will be some interaction with that bank, whether a process or a service for consumers or a business, that they know an app could improve,” Mr Pomeroy said.

“The key thing is that a developer and designer have the skill and expertise to create a solution with an app and we want a win-win situation where our customers get a benefit and we might be able to help New Zealand skills onto the world stage in the process.”

On offer are incentives valued up to $70,000 and the opportunity to leverage their app anywhere in the world outside of New Zealand and Australia once the app is live locally.

The Westpac App Challenge is open to individuals, teams and organisations. From the entries, at least five will be chosen to give a 15 minute presentation of their concept to a panel of judges from which at least two will be chosen to be developed.

The developers or designers of the selected apps will each receive $10,000 and will have the opportunity to work with Westpac while it is implemented (with funding to come from a special $50,000 development fund). They will retain ownership of the intellectual property rights in the app which they can then utilise outside New Zealand and Australia.

“After all, ‘if anyone can, a Kiwi can’ and we want to encourage and support that creativity and ingenuity. Wouldn’t it be great if someone comes up with an app that they end up leveraging around the world?” Mr Pomeroy said.

“We have deliberately been wide in the brief to encourage innovative and creative thinking. We don’t want to prescribe a narrow field of focus because we want to encourage their unique perspective and skills.”

“Westpac has an innovative pipeline of digital and mobile releases scheduled over the next year that we are excited about and we hope this contributes further to that.”

Westpac will be travelling the country talking to incubators, developer and designer groups, tertiary institutes and also secondary schools that have strong IT and computer curriculums.

Entries will close 13 September 2013. A fully operating app is not essential although the more developed the concept the better. Entrants will need to be clear on the purpose of their app, how it benefits users and how it makes a banking process or service faster and easier.

Westpac has been first to market in New Zealand with three innovative apps in recent times. Cash Tank provides an instant balance on a single authentication and has received international recognition. The bank also delivered the first dedicated iPad banking app in New Zealand while earlier this month Westpac introduced capability in its mobile app to provide approval for a home loan which has also received international comment.

Information on the Westpac App Challenge can be found at www.westpac.co.nz/appchallenge