From humble beginnings to a major acquisition by a global company - how wining CEBIT Pitchfest helped put Aussie Fintech LOOK WHO’S CHARGING on the world stage


Look whos charging (004)

With more than 15,000 potential customers, investors, business and partners set to converge at CEBIT 2019, this year there will be amazing potential for tech-focused start-ups to hone their skills in the biggest ever CEBIT 2019 Pitch Fest competition.

With registrations now closed, there has been a huge number of applicants who will be giving it their all in the hopes of receiving a free stand package for next year’s expo as well all-important press attention and the potential to attract new customers and investors.

One business which greatly benefited from taking out the Pitch Fest crown was data API Fintech Look Who’s Charging who won title in 2017. The then start-up, which focuses on eliminating the stress of unknown transactions on your credit card statement, was recently acquired in August by the Australian and New Zealand arm of global credit bureau services provider Experian in its sixth major APAC investment since 2017.

The acquisition will combine Experian’s global open data solutions with Look Who’s Charging enrichment capabilities to create an open data platform in Australia, following the recent open banking legislation. Look Who’s Charging provides clarity on bank transactions for more than 8 million Australians through the apps of its banking partners, including NAB and ANZ. According to Experian the deal will have wide ranging benefits for consumers, businesses and financial institutions.

David Washbrook, co-founder of Look Who’s Charging, said the acquisition had been an exciting development for the company. “With Experian’s scale, as a FTSE 100 listed company, we have an opportunity to help solve more of the immediate problems faced by Australian consumers and financial institutions, whilst the Look Who’s Charging solution is also rolled out to other key markets around the world which is a great opportunity,” he said.

The Sydney-based company, which now employs 25 people, was established in 2016 with the aim of solving the everyday frustrating problem of unrecognised transactions. “No one company has historically specifically focused on this problem, and bigger companies that have tried to solve it have been unsuccessful,” Mr Washbrook explained. “You look at your bank statement and half the time it may as well be written in a foreign language. It’s frustrating for consumers and an incredibly complex problem to solve.” 

A year later at CEBIT 2017, the company decided to enter Pitch Fest with co-founder Nicole Grover speaking about the business’s product offering. “It went well but there was a mix of nerves and excitement in presenting for Nicole as CEBIT attracts a big audience and gets a fair amount of press attention,” said Mr Washbrook. “We were up against 10 other businesses and deliberately kept our slide content to a minimum to focus on explaining and solving the problem by outlining our USP.”

Mr Washbrook said since winning Pitch Fest the company has gone from strength to strength. “Back then we had yet to go live with a bank and were processing about 20,000 queries a month through our API via our consumer facing website,” he said. “But we have now gone live within the digital apps of three of the big four banks and have a number of other integrations underway.  We now process over 30 million transactions every single day which is incredible!”

The business now will focus on continued expansion into the Australian market and aims to play a key role with the introduction of CDR and open banking. As well as international expansion, inroads into New Zealand should follow later this year and other markets thereafter.

In addition to Pitch Fest, there will be other exciting opportunities for start-ups at CEBIT 2019 with the Startup Co-working Zones and StartUp Showcase which offer a limited number of joint as well as individual exhibitor spaces and co-working facilities. These are heavily subsidised by CEBIT to enable the showcasing of the latest tech talent and ideas. For information about the zones and this year’s Pitch Fest visit