Westpac launches app challenge in UK


Westpac is asking UK developers and designers to create a mobile or web app for banking

Australian and New Zealand bank, Westpac, has announced it has launched the Global App Challenge UK to offering developers and designers based in Britain the opportunity to win a trip to New Zealand as part of a NZD$100,000 'Kiwis love Geeks' crowdsourcing competition for mobile and web banking apps.

Westpac is asking UK developers and designers to draw on their experience as a bank customer and isolate a service or process that could be done easier and faster using a mobile or web app.

The winner will receive NZD$20,000 and a contribution of up to $20,000 towards an adventure holiday in New Zealand, and the concept will be brought to market with a NZD$60,000 development fund. In addition, the winner will retain intellectual property rights to the completed app and be able to commercialise it outside of New Zealand and Australia.

Westpac head of digital, Simon Pomeroy, said that whatever developed country people live in, the issues and frustrations with a banking service or process are likely to be shared across the world. 'The UK is a well regarded hub for digital and mobile innovation and we would like to tap into that expertise,' Pomeroy said.

'If a developer or designer thinks like a customer and isolates a pain point, they have the skill and creativity to provide a solution through an app. There is the possibility that the app could also solve the same problem in other parts of the world and by retaining the intellectual property rights the winner can try and leverage that.'

He added: 'New Zealand is a unique country and we want this to be a unique opportunity. Not only do we want to showcase our beautiful country through an adventure holiday but while the winner is here we will help them meet Kiwi innovators so they can exchange ideas and see how we do things.'

With tongue firmly in cheek, Pomeroy said the ideal winner would have a sense of adventure, know that bungee jumping, the jetboat engine and the Martin jetpack originated in New Zealand and be '100% geek'.

'Kiwis love geeks and innovation is part of the Kiwi DNA. Technology is connecting the world and breaking the barriers of time and distance and we want to play our part in connecting those at the forefront of creating that change,' he said.

'Westpac is focused on delivering the best digital experience in New Zealand and the winner of the Westpac Global App Challenge UK will contribute to that and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way,' he concluded.

The Westpac Global App Challenge UK will close at 5pm on Friday 7 February 2014 (NZ daylight time). A shortlist of at least seven will be selected to give a 15 minute presentation on their concept to a panel of expert judges via videoconference. The winner will be selected from those presentations.

Developers and designers can get information, view the launch video, register their interest and receive entry forms via <a href='http://www.westpac.co.nz/appchallenge'>www.westpac.co.nz/appchallenge</a>. Videoconferences will also be held over the next two months so those entering can ask questions and clarify information and their thoughts directly with Simon Pomeroy.

Last month Westpac NZ chose three apps to develop after crowdsourcing mobile apps within New Zealand. Two of those apps are expected to be available shortly.

Web-based apps are a viable option for the competition as Westpac has recently announced it is releasing a fully responsive online banking platform. It will provide a seamless experience and allow users to do many of the processes and services from their internet enabled mobile device that would currently require a branch visit or call to the contact centre. Westpac is the first bank in New Zealand and Australia to do so and one of only a handful in the world. It has also just developed a banking app for a smart watch.


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