The founder of a startup delivering blockchain technologies to farmers was one of the big winners at FinTech Australia’s inaugural industry awards ceremony held in Sydney on Wednesday night.
AgriDigital co-founder and chief executive Emma Weston took out two of the five marquee awards at “The Finnies” – female fintech leader of the year and emerging fintech leader of the year.
The Sydney startup describes its product as “an integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry” that facilitates real-time payments to growers using blockchain technologies and smart contracts.
The judges stated that Weston possesses “a strong combination of business and technical leadership” and has shown “courageous leadership” in running AgriDigital.
“Getting blockchain to process settlements for a physical commodity is a huge step forward for global finance,” stated the judges.
The fintech organisation of the year gong went to Afterpay, which made headlines in February for its merger with Touchcorp. The company, set to form a $350 million fintech giant after the merge, was praised by the FinTech Australia judges for its “strong, customer-centric” retail buy-now-pay-later solution.
Prospa co-founders Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli were crowned joint winners in the male fintech leader of the year category. Their online lending business in February received $25 million in a funding round dubbed the largest of its kind in Australia, just months after it came in at number 31 on the global Fintech 100 honour list.
The fifth headline award, emerging fintech organisation of the year, went to millennial superannuation startup Spaceship. The business, backed by Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes, in March boasted that it would have $100 million under management by its official launch – although it has attracted its share of critics.
FinTech Australia president Simon Cant said that all the winners were a testament to a local fintech industry that has “almost unlimited potential”.
“The awards also amplify the work of our fintech industry members who are taking on and solving key industry challenges, such as increasing leadership diversity and building partnerships with larger financial institutions,” he said.
Among the specialty awards, data aggregator Proviso Data was the big winner, taking home three trophies — for excellence in fintech support services, regtech and data solutions.
NSW government’s Jobs For NSW programme is sponsoring The Finnies for its first two years. Nineteen of the 29 Finnie winners are from NSW, which the state innovation minister Matt Kean was pleased with.
“Sydney is home to Australia’s largest financial services industry and [is] a leading Asia-Pacific fintech hub with 54 per cent of our fintech sector based in NSW,” he said.
“We are committed to growing this exciting high-value growth sector to create jobs and economic opportunities for our state.”
The full list of winners is as follows:
Fintech organisation of the year
Female fintech leader of the year
Emma Weston, CEO, AgriDigital
Male fintech leader of the year
Greg Moshal & Beau Bertoli, founders and joint executive officers, Prospa
Emerging fintech organisation of the year
Emerging fintech leader of the year
Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder, AgriDigital
Best fintech place to work
Best workplace diversity
Marketing campaign or brand initiative of the year
Equitise – Equitise Bubble
Excellence in establishing market presence: Australia
Excellence in establishing market presence: global
Excellence in industry collaboration & partnerships (Australia)
Excellence in industry collaboration & partnerships (overseas)
Excellence in business lending
Excellence in consumer lending
Excellence in peer-to-peer lending
Excellence in crowdfunding
CrowdfundUP and Equitise (joint winners)
Excellence in payments
Excellence in digital currencies/wallets/exchanges
Excellence in blockchain and distributed ledger
Excellence in cybersecurity
Excellence in insurance technology
Excellence in data and artificial intelligence solutions
Excellence in regulatory technology and risk management
Excellence in wealth management
Excellence in asset management and trading
Excellence in financial inclusion (social good)
Excellence in fintech support services
Best co-working space (national)
Tank Stream Labs
Best investment firm (venture capital, family office, etc)
AirTree Ventures and Reinventure Group (joint winners)