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Beyond Banking: Emerge Shakes Up NZ Market With New Business Finance Platform

Banking is notoriously challenging for Kiwi businesses. The founders of viral pocket-money app ‘SquareOne’ have rebranded as Emerge and set out to challenge more traditional offerings, going live with their first account offering tailored for SMEs today. Convenient features include the ability to open an account in minutes; virtual cards for instant use; and 24/7 customer service.

“SquareOne was just the beginning. When those same customers grow up, we want them to have innovative banking options available to them. We started at SquareOne as that's where we saw the biggest need; businesses are next in terms of being underserved,” explains co-founder Jovan.

Jovan and Jamie started Emerge to address what they call a ‘broken landscape’ in the market for business accounts. With Emerge, your business can skip the paperwork and bank queues, and open accounts instantly in-app, from home (instead of waiting weeks or months). You then generate cards for all business expenses and transactions - doing away with complexity, and messy, time consuming processes like expense claims. Business owners create limits and controls, allowing team members to easily make purchases - from travel, to petty cash, corporate gifts, entertainment, and more.

Co-founders Jovan P and Jamie J
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“Unfortunately, legacy tech prevents some of the bigger banks from innovating. Emerge is shaking up customer experience and has built what we hope is the industry’s simplest offering. No branch visit and no paperwork, thanks to a fully digitised anti-money laundering process,” explains Jamie.

“Emerge has fixed banking for SMEs! Instant account access and the ability to allocate funds to employee cards with a tap is a game-changer. No more wait times to change account structures; or even worse - bank queues. Emerge is available 24/7, and works at the speed at which startups operate,” comments one company who was part of the Beta launch.

“Pilot customers were drawn from a wide range of businesses of all shapes, sizes, industries, and locations across NZ. Working with our target customers and receiving their feedback on the offering first-hand has helped us prove product-market fit even before we launch,” adds Jamie.

For now, Emerge works together with megabanks - all funds are held in a bare account (which it doesn’t have access to) - but has plans to become a challenger bank offering apps, software, and other technologies that streamline mobile and online banking for kids, business owners and (coming soon) individuals too.

“In New Zealand, building a customer-focused, full-service bank is still a race to the first. It’s a hard problem to solve; but as founders with kids and having started multiple businesses, we understand the problem and we’re attracted to what others think is impossible. Emerge is an opportunity to go after massive impact on the social fabric of the country - we want to change the way Kiwis access and use banking; and we can’t do this without re-inventing what this looks like. We started with the most underserved demographic - kids - and we’re excited to be redefining the SME market next,” says Jovan.

Emerge announced a $5.8 million seed extension round at the end of 2023, led by Auckland venture capital firm Altered Capital, with additional participation from Enterprise Angels and Angel Investors Marlborough. It also has an agreement with investor Mastercard, to integrate across its platform in more than 200 countries.

About Emerge

Emerge is a digital-first banking alternative, built to allow Kiwi businesses to go faster, be more cost-effective, and save time.

Combining cutting-edge technology with the best industry practices, Emerge will make managing finances for business owners, operators, and teams a breeze.

It’s one platform. Zero fees. All your business finances. Done better.

For more, visit or get in touch at

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