Afterpay, Airwallex and Civic Ledger among the Aussie fintech startups celebrated at the Finnie Awards 2018

Brighte founder Katherine McConnell

Brighte founder Katherine McConnell. Source: supplied.

This week, the superstars of Australian fintech gathered for the second annual Finnie Awards to recognise the talents of individuals, achievements in specific fields and overall excellence.

Supported by FinTech Australia and the NSW Government’s Jobs for NSW, the awards recognise leaders in five categories: people, culture and talent; growth mindset and perspective; excellence in business; support services; and an overall category, with 32 awards dished out in total.

For the second year in a row, the grand accolade of fintech organisation of the year went to ‘buy now, pay later’ platform Afterpay. The publicly-listed payments company allows shoppers to buy immediately from participating retailers, and pay later using Afterpay.

Last year, the platform announced partnerships with Myer, Super Retail Group, Booktopia and Telstra. However, earlier this year it came under the spotlight over claims minors had been able to purchase alcohol through Afterpay accounts.

At the awards, Afterpay co-founder and chief Nick Molnar also won the title of emerging fintech leader of the year, for leaders aged under 35.

Civic Ledger, a startup using blockchain technology to encourage government engagement, took the crown of emerging fintech organisation of the year – an award reserved for companies under two years old.

The award follows government contracts from the Queensland Government, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and IP Australia, with a mandate to explore faster and more efficient citizen interactions.

Co-founder and co-chief executive Katrina Donaghy said in a statement: “Building a community is central to blockchain technology. Self-organising, self-managing peoples’ transactions with government to create economic and social benefits is at the heart of Civic Ledger’s blockchain applications.”

Katherine McConnell, founder of renewable energy financing startup Brighte took home the award for outstanding fintech leader of the year.

The accolade tops off a successful few months of fundraising for Brighte, which recently secured a $20 million funding facility from NAB and $18.5 million in Series B funding.

The female fintech leader of the year award went to Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of cross-border payments startup Airwallex, which also won the award for excellence in payments.

In a statement, Liu said: “Regardless of gender, an entrepreneur isn’t someone who owns a business, it’s someone who makes things happen – and I like to think of myself as that person.”

“Sometimes being a female makes it a more challenging experience, but being an entrepreneur is about making the commitment that others won’t, being prepared to take a chance, and having the confidence to back yourself up.”

TravelbyBit, the fintech bringing cryptocurrency tourism to two small towns in Queensland, won the award for excellence in industry collaboration, and Melbourne fintech hub Stone & Chalk took home the excellence in fintech support services award for infrastructure and investment.

The full list of 2018 Finnie Award winners:

People, culture and talent category:

Best workplace diversity Valiant Finance

Emerging fintech leader of the year Nick Molnar, co-founder and chief executive, Afterpay

Female fintech leader of the year Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer, Airwallex

Outstanding fintech leader of the year Katherine McConnell, founder and chief executive, Brighte

Growth mindset and global perspective category:

Excellence in establishing market presence: Global Verrency

Excellence in industry collaboration and partnerships TravelbyBit

Excellence in business category:

Excellence in business lending Trade Ledger

Excellence in consumer lending RateSetter Australia

Excellence in crowdfunding OnMarket

Excellence in payments (including remittance/FX) Airwallex

Excellence in digital currencies/wallets/exchanges Finch

Excellence in blockchain/distributed ledger AgriDigital

Excellence in cyber security XM Cyber

Excellence in insurtech Cover Genius

Excellence in data/AI/digital ID solutions Data Republic

Excellence in regtech (including KYC and AML) Proviso

Excellence in wealth management (including PFM and robo) Pocketbook

Best customer/user experience Look Who’s Charging

Best marketing/branding initiative of the year SocietyOne

Support services category:

Excellence in fintech support services – infrastructure and investment Stone & Chalk

Excellence in fintech support services – professional services The Fold Legal

Overall category:

Emerging fintech organisation of the year Civic Ledger

Fintech organisation of the year Afterpay


NOW READ: Three ways to build a thriving business, according to 2018’s Smart 30 Under 30


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