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.