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Female founders take out top fintech industry awards

Last night FinTech Australia announced the winner of its sixth annual Finnie awards. For the first time in the award’s history, all category winners were women. According to the latest fintech census, women represent only 29 per cent of the fintech industry. 

The Finnie awards acknowledge outstanding Australian financial technology companies. This year’s awards were the largest to date, with 288 entries for a total of 23 awards. The growth of the Finnie’s represents considerable growth in the financial technology sector. 

Long-time Finnie winners Afterpay and Airwallex have now become the first inductees into the Finnies Hall of Fame. 

Female-led industry growth 

Female founders were the overwhelming winners at this year’s awards, with Brighte, Paypal Plane, Athena Home Loans, and Adatree being the biggest winners. 

This year’s awards were significantly more competitive than previous years, demonstrating significant growth in the industry. Athena Home Loans took home three awards; the most awarded this year. 

FinTech Australia CEO Rebecca Schot-Guppy said, “Prior years have seen some companies take home multiple awards. This year has been more competitive than ever before, reflecting again the maturity of the industry.

“The results of this year’s awards demonstrate the growth over the last 12 months and show just how far we have come as an industry.” 

The significant representation of women as winners in this year’s Finnies demonstrates women’s outstanding work in fintech. The awards evidence how the position of women is driving the sector in the post-COVID world.  

Ms Schot-Guppy said, “We have always had a Female Fintech Leader of the year award to meaningfully highlight and celebrate women in fintech. This year, women have taken out all of the top awards, including outstanding fintech leaders, which has never been won by a woman. While there is more work to be done, it shows just how much headway the sector has made in terms of diversity in such a short period of time. 

“This sets the scene for the sector reaching new heights in 2022, as we find new normal in a post-COVID world.”

Hall of Fame 

Australian fintech pioneers Afterpay and Airwalllex became the inaugural members of the Finnie’s Hall of Fame this year. Established this year, it recognises sustained fintech industry excellence. 

These two standout companies have been continually recognised at the Finnie awards. 

Afterpay has been acknowledged at the Finnies for five consecutive years, while Airwallex has been recognised for four years in a row.

Craig Rees VP, Global Head of Platform, accepted Airwallex’s Hall of Fame induction honour at the 2021 Finnies award ceremony.

Mr Rees said, “Airwallex is honoured to be inducted into FinTech Australia’s Hall of Fame. We’re hugely grateful to FinTech Australia for their advocacy over the last four years – from 2018 when we were first recognised at the Finnies to this year’s Hall of Fame.

“Being named as one of the first-ever Hall of Fame inductees is the best way to round out 2021. It’s been a record year for Airwallex as we completed our US$200m Series E funding round, expanded into new markets across the US and Europe and launched Capital 49 to invest in high-growth tech companies, including fintech.

“Our success is made possible through the continued support from our customers, partners, investors and our talented, fast-growing global team.” 

Emerging FinTech Leader winner 

CEO and co-founder Jill Berry of Australian fintech company Adatree became the first woman to be awarded Emerging FinTech Leader of the year. 

Ms Berry developed Adatree, an innovative Open Banking platform with her business partner Shane Doolan. The company was a finalist in seven Finnie awards this year. 

Ms Berry said, “I am honoured to be recognised for this prestigious award and am extremely grateful for the amazing team I get to work with every day. Without my business partner, Shane, and the talented professionals at Adatree, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have in driving the company and creating innovative new solutions.

“We founded Adatree to deliver Open Banking solutions to increase ease and convenience for companies looking to leverage the Consumer Data Right (CDR), while providing a smoother and better customer experience for consumers. While still a relatively new space, we are extremely excited to create innovative new use cases of CDR to help organisations gain a competitive advantage and create value-adding services.

“Our mission is to provide better access to data and allow consumers better outcomes, and we are confident in our ability to do this as the fintech industry also grows from strength to strength.”

Read more: How FinTech can help the rise & growth of SME lending

Read more: Business news and updates: CBA plans to take on fintech threat with digital lending

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Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck is a Journalist at Dynamic Business. She is a student at the University of Queensland where she studies Journalism and Economics. Heidi has a passion for the stories of small business, as well as the bigger picture of economics.

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