Qantas, NAB, and Westpac behind Data Republic's AU$10.5m funding round

Sydney's Data Republic has scooped up AU$10.5 million in funding from three large Australian organisations, hoping to use the funds to bolster its presence in the United States.

Sydney-based startup Data Republic has secured AU$10.5 million in its Series A investment round, with Qantas Loyalty, NAB Ventures, and Westpac's ReInventure Fund taking an equity stake as a result of their respective investments.

"With this important investor support, we can continue to help businesses unlock the value of their data and drive more relevant products and services, but in a way which prioritises customer privacy," Data Republic co-founder and former iiNet board member Paul McCarney said.

"There's enormous social and business productivity benefits to opening up data for exchange, but the privacy, security and rights of the consumer have to come first."

Data Republic was founded in 2014 by McCarney and co-founder Danny Gilligan, who is also the co-founder of Westpac's ReInventure.

The startup offers a marketplace for data exchange between organisations and is currently in use by governments and not-for-profits, in addition to private enterprise.

"The productivity impacts from governed data exchange extend way beyond business, and into social benefits like improved insight into areas such as mental health and public education," McCarney said.

In addition to the AU$10.5 million cash boost, Data Republic and Westpac have partnered to develop the world's first data banking service, which the companies said allows corporate clients to separate and store customer information and authorise broader data insights for analysis and exchange.

"Given the increasing prevalence of data sharing between organisations, the creation of 'banking infrastructure for data' to enable it to flow as freely, with the same trust, security and privacy as money is critical to moving towards a data driven economy," Westpac ReInventure and Data Republic co-founder Gilligan said.

"Both Data Republic and the security which the data bank infrastructure offers are important innovations in this regard."

Data Republic is based out of Sydney's fintech hub Stone & Chalk, which last week was announced as one of the 40-plus Australian startups, global tech giants, and entrepreneurs attempting to convert Sydney into Australia's Silicon Valley.

With involvement from the likes of Airbnb, Amazon, Atlassian, and Uber, the not-for-profit group, TechSydney, said it will work to address what it considers is the greatest challenge for Sydney's innovation ecosystem -- collaboration.

Despite efforts from major tech companies as well as state and federal government intervention, the consortium said Sydney's global startup ecosystem ranking slipped from 12 in 2012 down to 16 in 2015.

"Recent moves from all levels of government to support our startup and technology sector have been heartening, but we can't rely on them to carry it forward," TechSydney founder Dean McEvoy said previously.

"By working together, we will drive the initiatives that will turn Sydney into a world class, top 10 hub for technology companies."

In March, the Australian government announced a fintech advisory board, charged with helping to ensure the country has an internationally competitive environment for fintech and allow Australia to attract international innovators to its shores.

The FinTech Advisory Group is chaired by chairman of Stone & Chalk, director of Westpac Bank, and former CEO of AMP Craig Dunn with co-founder and managing director of Westpac's ReInventure Simon Cant taking up his position in the group.