NAB Ventures leads $32 million funding for Canadian fintech firm

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A National Australia Bank (NAB) logo is pictured on an automated teller machine (ATM) in central Sydney September 12, 2014.
A National Australia Bank (NAB) logo is pictured on an automated teller machine (ATM) in central Sydney September 12, 2014. Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

NAB Ventures led a US$24 million (AU$32 million) series D funding round for cloud fintech firm Wave. The latter, based in Canada, delivers financial management software like payroll, invoicing and accounting.

Melissa Widner, NAB Ventures’ general partner, said that the bank is interested in any emerging technologies that offer a connected experience to customers. NAB has more than 450,000 small and medium business customers, making it one of the largest banks in Australia.

Wave co-founder and chief executive Kirk Simpson said that nobody understands small business in Australia better than NAB. He added that they are looking forward to explore how to serve businesses better alongside the bank.

“We also believe that innovative partnerships between technology companies and world-class banks will lead to transformative solutions in the market,” Simpson added as per Money Management. The firm also offers financial services such as credit card processing and lending.

Following the funding, NAB Ventures would have the power to assign an observer to the Wave board. The series D funding round also included funding from Silicon Valley venture firms CRV and Social Capital, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), global funds OurCrowd and Harbourvest. It also included funding from investors like BDC Capital, OMERS Ventures and BDC IT Venture Fund.

Wave targets businesses with lesser than 10 employees. It has two and a half million small business customers in more than 200 countries across the world. In Australia, Wave has 35,000 active users.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Wave is looking to utilise RBC and NAB to incorporate financial services into the software, which users can use for free. Revenues would be generated from fees relating to invoice, payroll and payments. The firm is also reportedly exploring lending products.

Widner said it was too early to predict how NAB’s team up with Wave would turn out, but suggested the deal would likely help the bank in making faster loan approvals. She hinted at how lending could take place in the future. "Looking at data in general, instead doing a loan application like you do today, what if you could push a button and have funds directly in your account?” Widner asked.

Kirk Simpson, Wave co-founder, pointed out that an average small business owner spends 33 hours to prepare for a loan application based on surveys. NAB's QuickBiz business loan product is currently integrated with cloud accounting providers Xero and MYOB to make approval times faster.

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