Banqer, the financial education platform that’s used by over 50% of primary schools, and a third of secondary schools in Aotearoa, has recently closed a $1.5m NZD capital raise.
Supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s investment team, the funding round was the first for the established B-Corp impact business, and came following their entry into the Australian secondary schools market. The funding will be used to amplify their early success in the new market, and forge a pathway to new markets outside of K-12.
The round comes following Banqer’s inclusion in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's first trade mission to Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent Prime Ministerial visit to the company’s Ōtautahi based office yesterday. The company recognises the trade mission as being a “significant contributor” of their successful raise, particularly in what are tough capital conditions.
Banqer co-CEO Simon Brown comments; “We’ve worked hard to build a business that represents a new way of doing things. One that demands commercial excellence and impact excellence, something we’ve been able to evidence to investors pretty clearly.”
The new investors represent a shift for the previously closely held company with the decision to bring in capital not made lightly for the Waitaha Canterbury based business. Banqer co-CEO Kendall Flutey stated; “The ‘who’ was equally as important as the ‘how much’. The investment landscape has changed significantly since Banqer was founded, in particular the sophistication of impact investors, and Māori investment entities. I’m glad we waited and now benefit from extremely well-aligned investors.”
Investors in the funding round includes GreenMount Capital and its cornerstone investor Ngāi Tahu Investments, Ahu Whenua Trust; Tauhara North No.2 Trust, Australian private investment company Tripple, and New Zealand Growth Capital Partners.
Hamish Blackman, Chief Investment Officer at GreenMount commenting; “GreenMount Capital are pleased to be supporting Banqer in achieving its purpose of improving financial literacy. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to extend their services into New Zealand communities via connections of our cornerstone investor, Ngai Tahu Investments.” A sentiment shared by Flutey, who has Ngāi Tahu whakapapa, and sees the iwi investment as “a motivation multiplier” as they continue on their growth journey.
With Australia firmly set as Banqer’s current growth market, ensuring Australian representation in the round was important to the company; finding this in Tripple.
Jake Milgrom, Executive Director of Tripple stating; “At Tripple, we believe financial literacy is essential to reducing systemic inequality and that everyone should be given the opportunity to learn this in a constructive way. The team at Banqer have shown an outstanding ability to create a compelling education platform and we’re excited to support them as they deliver on their mission to prepare the next generation for their future.”
An appreciation of the purpose behind the awarded start-up is something shared by other investors; “As investors, we’re regularly reminded of the importance of financial literacy and are excited to be assisting the Banqer team in providing their platform to a wider audience,” says Byron van Vugt, Investment Manager at NZ Growth Capital Partners, NZGCP.
According to Brown, the composition of the investors represents Banqer’s commitment to a broader definition of success; “We’re not just another new high-growth tech company. We’ve already meaningfully financially educated over 300,000 students and we’re looking to push that number quickly into the millions. We needed investors who were both commercially aspirational, and impact driven, and we found who we believe are the best in the market.”
The capital will be deployed over the next 18 months to support faster growth throughout Australian secondary schools, a market Banqer entered in 2022 through their newest platform, Banqer High. Additionally, the company will progress their strategic plans to enter new verticals outside of K-12, leveraging existing technology.
Banqer has also been financially supported by Education New Zealand, Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ), by award, through their Product Innovation Fund earlier this year. Banqer is currently working with ENZ to explore new product offerings and innovative approaches to education.
Banqer is a financial education platform for schools. Our immersive online simulation promotes behavioural changes, creating positive impact for our students, their families and their communities.
To date, over 300,000 students have experienced earning an income, developing a career, paying taxes, exploring the property market, mitigating risk, enrolling in KiwiSaver (superannuation) and more as they practise money management in a safe environment.
Founded in 2015 to address the low financial literacy rates that contribute to social inequality, it's our mission to create social change by empowering the next generation's financial future. Our innovation and impact has been recognised in a number of awards including the 2022 B-Corp Best for the World Customers Category, 2021 Westpac Champion Business Awards (finalist), the 2018 NZ Hi-Tech Awards Startup Of The Year (finalist), and the 2017 CYFI Global Inclusion Awards: Economic Citizenship Education (winner).
Banqer is available across New Zealand and Australia, being supported by Champion Partners, Kiwibank and Netwealth, respectively, and aligns to both the local National Strategy, and curricula. It is a resource developed with educators, for educators.
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