New Zealand financial literacy startup Banqer has expanded into Australia, bagging a partnership with financial services provider Netwealth that will see 15,000 students across the country receive free access to the platform.
Born out of a Startup Weekend in Wellington in 2014, Banqer is an online banking system that works alongside the usual day in the classroom.
Using fictional currency, students can earn for completing classroom jobs or offering services to other kids, track spending on the likes of classroom wifi, and pay tax, while teachers can trigger things like interest rate rises or virtual earthquakes to teach students about the benefits of insurance, for example.
The platform is being used by more than 20,000 students across 450 schools in New Zealand, its reach expanding in part thanks to the startup last year partnering with Kiwibank; the bank funded the rollout of the platform to over 1,000 new classrooms across the country.
With Netwealth to work with Banqer in a similar fashion in Australia, joint managing director Matt Heine said that as the company seeks to enable, educate, and inspire people to see wealth differently, Banqer is a good opportunity to start kids on this journey.
“We all want a brighter future for our kids, and that means making sure programs like Banqer get into our schools so kids can learn in a practical way, lifelong concepts about money. We are very proud to have brought this program to Australian kids,” he said.
“All kids deserve a great start to life and being financially literate, being confident and curious, is a huge step towards this goal.”
Access to the platform costs schools $2 per student per term; with over two million primary school students in Australia, the startup has a $16 million-a-year opportunity locally.
With a number of Australian schools already signed on, cofounder and CEO Kendall Flutey will be spending much of 2017 in Australia to onboard more before looking to the US. The startup already has a number of classrooms onboard in the UK, South Africa, Canada.
“Financial illiteracy is a global problem so we need to be a global solution. I’m a firm believer that when it comes to money; knowledge is power. Banqer’s aim is to arm young people with the skills they need to make smart and informed financial choices as adults,” she said.
“If we do that, we think we’ll make strong in-roads at reducing inequality, crippling debt, and poverty in New Zealand and around the world.”
Image: Kendall Flutey. Source: Supplied.