the Programme

Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator is a three-month business growth programme powered by Lightning Lab, New Zealand's premier startup accelerator.

After the success of the inaugural programme earlier this year, the Kiwibank FinTech accelerator will return in February 2018. 

The Accelerator is underway! 

The programme is underway! Want to see who is participating? Check out who is involved here. 

Both Kiwibank and Lightning Lab work to make life better for Kiwis. 

The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator is an opportunity for high impact businesses to contribute to making Kiwis, Kiwi companies and the NZ financial system better. 

We’re interested in companies that can help bring everyone into the financial system, and gain the benefits, and we’re looking for people who have viable business models.

A successful applicant to the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator might be a startup venture working in areas like payments; financial literacy; security; insurance; identity regulations; lending; investing; or asset management. They may be using technologies such as Blockchain; AI; machine learning; bots and cryptocurrencies to bring their solution to life.

What is Lightning Lab?

Lightning Lab is a full-time, in-residence, fast-paced and time constrained business-growth programme provided by Creative HQ that helps entrepreneurs build successful businesses in a short timeframe. Ventures will be fully immersed in their business and will relocate to our Creative HQ space in central Wellington from bootcamp to Demo Day.

A Lightning Lab provides startup ventures with structure, methodologies, business skills and focused support so they can find the best market fit for their products and rapidly grow their user base. They’ll practice market validation and product development approaches used by companies like Google, IDEO, and Tesla. Lightning Lab is also an investment pathway that has proven to be successful in building strong companies and significantly increasing their value to investors. Over $20 million in seed investment has been raised by companies coming out of previous Lightning Lab programmes.

Teams will have access to funding as they enter the programme:
-$20,000 NZD for 6% equity as a seed fund from Lightning Lab
-Up to $50,000 NZD convertible note from local investors at the start of the programme

Teams will also have access to a variety of free and discounted services from sponsors and the Global Accelerator Network.

Key Dates



Applications Opened



Deadline for Online Market Validation Course



Applications Close Midnight



Selection Panel convenes in Wellington



Programme Starts



Demo Day

Why Us, Why Here?

Lightning Lab and Wellington, a Great Combintion 

The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator brings the top experts, regulators, corporates and innovators of the New Zealand financial system to one place to help you validate your business.

New Zealand was ranked 1st in the world for ease of doing business by the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Report. New Zealand is also ranked 1st in Transparency International's Anti-Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 as the least corrupt country in the world.

We have one tier of regulators here in New Zealand (and we work directly with them). This makes New Zealand a great testing ground before launching into larger markets. Kiwis are made up of a broad demographic and are used to being early adopters of new solutions. Many of the world’s largest and most innovative companies test here first.

Wellington is the headquarters of all of the banks and financial institutions, (including Xero) as well as the regulatory authorities in New Zealand. Here in Wellington we have strong relationships with our sponsors, sector experts and the Financial Markets Authority.    

How to best Prepare?

Online Market Validation Course

Prior to the full Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator programme, we are running an online market validation course to help teams interested in the programme.

Improve your chance of getting into the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator by doing the online market validation course. Over 80% of the teams who were selected for the last programme went through the inline market validation course first.

The online market validation course gives you access to the same Lightning Lab startup coaches who work in the full accelerator programme. They will help you learn the techniques to validate whether you have a good problem to solve and if your solution can solve that problem.

A maximum of 20 teams will be selected for the market validation course. You can work at your own pace and will be expected to commit 5-10 hours per week to the course. There is no cost for the course and no commitment required from you.

Start your accelerator application and you will automatically be eligible for the Online Market Validation Course. Apply HERE.

Being part of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator helped us turn our idea into a business. Providing us with the momentum, tools and support we needed along the way

Sonya Williams, Sharesies