22 October 2013

Three Kiwi developers to take on the world
Westpac announces winners of The Westpac App Challenge

Westpac New Zealand will develop three mobile banking apps with global potential from its crowd sourcing initiative – The Westpac App Challenge.

Each of the winners will receive $10,000.They retain the intellectual property to leverage the completed app internationally, and have the opportunity to work with Westpac as their idea is implemented and made a reality.
It is hoped the apps will be brought to the market over the next six months.

Westpac is the first bank in New Zealand and Australia to crowdsource mobile apps, and more than 120 entries were submitted. They covered a wide range of banking services including payments, budgeting, saving tools, transfers and security, and included concepts such as gamification, peer-to-peer and competitions.

A shortlist of seven entrants was made, and those developers and designers presented their ideas and concepts to an expert panel of judges at Westpac’s Head Office in Auckland.

Westpac Head of Digital Banking, Simon Pomeroy, said the objective of The Westpac App Challenge was for developers and designers to use their experience as a bank customer to identify a service or process that they thought could be done quicker and faster via a mobile app.

“The quality of entries that were submitted exceeded our expectations and showed that the innovation in this space in New Zealand is world class,” Mr Pomeroy said.

“Originally, we were only going to select two projects but the quality of ideas and the benefits they will deliver to customers meant we had to extend that to three. We are very excited by the three projects and believe there is international potential amongst them. One or more of the winners achieving that would be a dream result.”

The winners are Steven Pinkham of Christchurch, David Arnold from Tauranga, and Wellington pair John Jackson and Justine Polkinghorne. The winning concepts cover security, payments and transfers.

Steven is a supervisor in a Christchurch supermarket and his winning idea came from observing customers at the checkout. He has a strong interest in software development and recently put himself through a tertiary course.

David developed his concept from a personal experience that is widely shared by bank customers, while John and Justine researched and developed an idea that they believe will make financial management easier for targeted users.

“The ideas we’ve chosen are incredibly strong and we can’t wait to get into the building and development stage to bring them to life,” Pomeroy said.

Westpac is now preparing to launch an international app challenge.