Unlikely marriage: CDR specialist fintech Adatree gets snapped up by paytech

Adatree, CDR, consumer data right, merger Fat Zebra

Fat Zebra, a payments technology developer for enterprises and SMEs, has announced it has acquired fellow Aussie fintech Adatree for an undisclosed sum.

Adatree, an accredited data recipient within the Consumer Data Right (CDR) framework, effectively functions as an intermediary to facilitate FSIs’ integration with the consumer data-sharing regime.

The fintech’s technology is frequently touted as the ‘poles and wires of the Consumer Data Right’, enabling companies to access regulated and consented data sharing. Adatree is currently connected to 114 data sources, covering 99.73 per cent of the household banking market share.

Among the use cases noted by the Fat Zebra include loan assessment reporting, energy and banking comparison, real-time broker portfolio tracking, personal financial management, and a variety of recommendation engines.

For Fat Zebra, a payments facilitator boasting big-name clients such as Macquarie Bank and PayPal, the acquisition “signifies an important step” for the company’s future – one that will enable it to “seamlessly integrate” open data from the CDR to its payment services and further enhance its offerings to clients.

This landmark buyout will “[set] the stage for a dynamic product roadmap”, the paytech said.

Despite playing in different spaces in Australia’s financial services ecosystem, Fat Zebra chief executive Pred Dragila said the fintechs have natural synergies.

“Open data and open payments are the future of the financial landscape. This acquisition positions Fat Zebra to drive smarter, data-driven payments in Australia, offering enhanced services to our clients and partners.”

Jill Berry, Adatree’s chief executive and co-founder, added that the buyout would “enable the development of features to make payments smarter, showing immediate synergies and benefits with the companies joining.”

Importantly, for a CDR still struggling to gain traction with the Australian public and still beset by data quality concerns, Berry hopes the combined powers of the fintechs would “accelerate our mission of advancing Open Banking and data-driven solutions.

With consumer uptake of the CDR still patchy, the fintechs hope to take advantage of the CDR’s long-awaited ‘action initiation’ capability, which is currently still in design.

The capability will enable accredited companies to initiate actions, also known as ‘write access’ – allowing actions including initiating payments, opening and closing accounts, and the updating of customer information – through the CDR framework.

The fintechs confirmed that the acquisition was completed in December 2023, with all Adatree staff joining Fat Zebra.

Fat Zebra handles more than 250 million e-commerce transactions annually in Australia for 30,000 SME and enterprise merchants, boasting a client base that includes PayPal, Macquarie Bank, Aussie Broadband, MYOB and Zip.