Fintech’s brightest celebrated

June 14 2018

Australia’s fintech industry has recognised its best and brightest, with the founder and CEO of Brighte Katherine McConnell named Australia’s outstanding fintech leader of the year.

Ms McConnell founded Brighte in 2015 after a 16-year career in investment banking and

financial services, with her start-up providing on-the-spot finance for energy home improvements such as solar panels and insulation.

Since it launched 18 months ago, the start-up has approved over $50 million of applications from more than 6,000 Australian homeowners, and the company last month received $18.5m in additional funding.

“​Katherine is an inspirational female Fintech founder and has demonstrated her excellent leadership skills and vision to drive the business growth of Brighte,” one judge said.

FinTech Australia CEO Brad Kitschke said the winners reflected the maturity and growth of Australia’s nascent fintech industry.

“The winners of the 2018 Finnies are providing consumers and businesses new and improved

services and a real alternative to the banks and other traditional financial institutions,” Mr Kitschke said.

“The winners include smaller fintech start-up companies but now also include larger scale-up fintechs which are dominant players in their sectors and are major employers in their own right.”

Other winners included civic-focused blockchain company ​Civic Ledger​, which won Emerging FinTech Organisation of the Year, while Afterpay​ won FinTech Organisation of the Year and Airwallex​ co-founder and chief operating officer Lucy Liu was awarded the Female FinTech Leader of the Year.

Afterpay​ CEO and co-founder Nick Molnar was recognised as the Emerging FinTech Leader of the Year.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said in a statement he was thrilled to see 16 out of the 23 award winners were NSW-based.

“This is a tremendous result for our fintech sector with NSW picking up 55 out of 89 finalist positions and now nearly 70 per cent of the awards,” he said.

“We recognise the important and increasing role of fintech in driving innovation and future growth in our financial services sector.”

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