Edition 5 Kernel

  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Jodie Catterall, Scott Kennedy
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Ashley Keen, Armin Svoboda, Ryan Potter, Sam Williams
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Becca O'Shea, Christine Jensen, Catherine Emerson, Dean Anderson, Stephen Upton, Jacky Jiang


In today’s economy, traditional money-saving methods are falling short. Using information provided by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, we calculated that, each year, Kiwis lose over one billion dollars in potential wealth by leaving their savings in the bank.

Thanks to Covid-19 and the increased accessibility of trading platforms, Kiwis’ awareness of and appetite to be involved in their financial wellbeing is higher than ever. However, seeking out wealth managers and financial advice is still seen as ‘out of reach’.

We were frustrated with the inefficiency and lack of innovation in the industry. We needed to create a long-term savings solution that provided a curated range of investments to empower all Kiwis to safely invest for their future. So, we created Kernel–a simple, gamification-free investment platform to support educated investment–with a goal to foster a wealthier, more financially literate New Zealand.


Kernel had to effectively deliver important information in a simple way to cater to various financial literacy levels. Automating where possible, like our Pause-Start Auto-invest function, meant we could remove unnecessary noise or gamification. This was important to us because the reality is good wealth creation should be boring and aligned to personal goals and aspirations; not something that keeps you fixed on picking “winners”.

Providing a hassle-free setup was crucial to securing hesitant first-timers, so we implemented a seamless onboarding and AML verification process to get investors settled within five minutes. No paperwork necessary.

Catering to entry-level investors; Kernel provides pre-selected investment bundles, helping users warm up to making independent decisions. Plus, our insights section keeps investors in control by reviewing their portfolio across the different industries, companies, and funds. Kernel’s 11 fund options, including Clean Energy, Green Property, and the first NZ 50 ESG index fund, systematically assess and weight investments according to highly-considered criteria, including sustainability.

With Kernel, there’s no transaction fee, accounts under $1000 are free and parents can invest on their children’s behalf – making our platform, we believe, the most accessible investment platform in the country.

Technical Resolution

Critical to our success, was building a component library using Storybook and styled components. It allowed us to build, deploy and execute customer feedback at lightning pace. Built into our component library are variations of all components adapted for dark mode, and all responsive break-points, to cater to all devices.

Our back end is built using a combination of C# and F# and utilises a microservices architecture. F# is a fit-for-purpose finance technology and allows us to calculate complex financial performance elegantly. Kernel is hosted on serverless cloud infrastructure, meaning we don't have to worry about uptime; the platform is deployed and built fresh every time a user loads the application. This means we’re also safeguarded against DDoS attacks.

Kernel has a NoSQL database, meaning SQL injections are not possible. Through our choices in technology, hosting our application costs merely $10’s of dollars per month. As result, our technology can scale into the future alongside our business.