Starling Bank won FinTech of the Year last night to cap off a UK FinTech Awards 2021 ceremony in which 22 categories were closely fought.
Joining Starling Bank as winners were Tide (Banking Tech of the Year), Previse (Payments Tech of the Year) and Tractable (InsurTech of the Year).
The awards ceremony was held at Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Paul’s in the heart of the UK’s financial centre.
Ron Kalifa OBE, author of the independent fintech strategic review for the UK, set the scene for the evening with a speech on the rise of the jurisdiction as a fintech powerhouse.
He told attendees: “Over the past decade, fintech has moved steadily away from being a fringe sector populated by startups, to a world leading and fast-growing part of our economy. Fintech solutions now lie at the heart of innovation in financial services—and the total tech spend of traditional financial services was £95 billion in 2019.”
Phil Vidler, chief executive officer of FinTech Alliance and chair of the independent judging panel that oversaw and delivered the UK FinTech Awards 2021 results, praised the quality of every fintech that entered and their commitment to customers during the pandemic.
He continued: “To say investors are doubling down on fintech is an understatement.”
“It shows just how vital the sector will be in fueling economic recovery in the coming years. Not just from direct investment and job creation, but also as an enabler to other sectors. UK fintechs—many of them honoured in tonight’s awards—also offer vital support to industries like hospitality, retail and travel as they look to rebuild in the coming year.”
FinTech of the Year
The final award of the evening and its most prestigious, FinTech of the Year, went to Starling Bank.
The digital bank, which secured a valuation in excess of £1.1 billion pre-money earlier this year, has emerged as a vital digital banking provider to both consumers and businesses, according to the UK FinTech Awards 2021 judging panel.
A particular highlight for Starling Bank that the judges identified was its lending platform. They said the digital bank is removing delays in lending and simplifying the process.
Tide won Banking Tech of the Year thanks to its great work in business banking, where the fintech has made significant progress over the past year.
The judges described Tide as a worthy winner for expanding its business support tools and going the extra mile for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Equally impressive was Previse, winner of Payments Tech of the Year. This fintech is transforming payments for goods and services in the business-to-business space.
The judges said Previse is providing a valuable, sustainable solution that is a win-win for buyers and suppliers, and is yet another example of the rise of fintech to meet the impacts of the pandemic, particularly on businesses.
The 2021 InsurTech of the Year Tractable, the AI company serving many of the largest property and casualty insurers, manufacturers and fleet owners worldwide.
Tractable emerged from a competitive category as the clear winner, after showcasing how it has managed to use AI and insurtech to solve real issues for customers.
Praise for fintech’s trainees, rising stars, innovators and directors
The UK FinTech Awards 2021 also recognised the achievements of individuals with several categories.
Samantha Seaton, chief executive officer of Moneyhub Enterprise, the fintech that powers open banking and finance solutions that enhance financial wellness, won Director of the Year.
Seaton was described as a leader in both the financial services sector and open banking, who has championed financial wellness and was the standout choice for the category.
The evening was a fruitful one for Moneyhub Enterprise, which also won Pensions Tech of the Year for succeeding in getting users to engage with their pensions and WealthTech of the Year for demonstrating the power of AI when it is paired with capable people.
The 2021 Trainee of the Year Fiona Jones, marketing content lead at Digital Identity Net, whose OneID service empowers people to leverage their identity, decide who has access to it, and how they share it
Jones brought superb knowledge of the fintech sector to Digital Identity Net, according to the UK FinTech Awards 2021 judges, and carried out research projects that have materially impacted on its product strategy.
The judges also said that Jones continues to demonstrate an excellent standard of work within marketing and is a committed member of the Digital Identity Net team with a promising future.
Rising Star of the Year, a category designed to recognise the achievements of an individual who is rapidly ascending the fintech sector career ladder, went to Amélie Arras, marketing director at cryptocurrency wallet and payments provider Zumo.
Arras is a celebrated marketing and communications professional in the fintech sector, the judges reflected, who has widely promoted the benefits of cryptocurrency and championed the work of women in this space.
Innovator of the Year celebrates fintech’s most impressive innovators who, collectively, have made significant strides in the sector’s development.
The 2021 Innovator of the Year is Christine Minetou, who has been central to digital home and car insurer Policy Expert‘s approach to data.
Minetou spearheads a team of data scientists working at the cutting edge of insurance pricing and pioneers the use of data analytics techniques.
The UK FinTech Awards will be returning in 2022.
Visit the UK FinTech Awards website for a full list of the winners and the reasons for their success last night.