Judges reveal their hot tips for the 2020 Finnies Awards

  • By FinTech Australia

The closing date for entries to the Finnies is fast approaching. Last year’s awards had over 233 entries across 18 categories.

This year we’re expecting to break that record as the sector continues to grow. With the deadline fast approaching, we talked to two of last year’s judges – Daniel Knight from K&L Gates and Cathryn Lyall from Seed Money Australia – to find out what helped some of the winners stand out and take home the prize. What were the entries like last year?
Having judged the contest for several years prior, Knightl told us that he noticed an increase in the breadth and quality of entries from previous years. He also noted a bend towards fintechs with a social mission and says those entries were the most memorable. 
Last year was Lyall's first year judging The Finnies. Having worked in the world-leading UK fintech industry for over a decade prior has given her an eye for quality fintech businesses. She found the entries for her categories to range in both quality and depth.
She also said Australia has a very vibrant fintech ecosystem, despite having a fraction of the support seen from government and companies overseas.
Any tips for this year’s entries?
Knight told us that fintechs need to focus on nailing the messaging around what makes them unique and providing proof points of their success. “I want companies to demonstrate that their business isn’t just an idea, and shows me runs on the board,” he says.
He adds that it’s worth gathering customer testimonials and other key business metrics for the entry, as it helped him choose finalists from the rest of the entries.
Lyall urged companies and founders to simply put more time into their entries and not rush them. She says some incredible founders and companies missed out last year, as despite being remarkable in their market, they couldn’t properly articulate their success.
“Don’t just outsource the entry to a junior, as they’ll only know the basics of your story,” Lyall said. “That story is incredibly important, we want to know why you founded the business and your vision for it.”
“There were several entries last year that should have been in the finalist’s list, but we had to judge them on their entries, not on the company or founders’ broader achievements.”
Details on the awards The Finnies will be held on Thursday, 11 June at The Forum.
It will include a new award for regtech companies and remain in the academy award style format that was presented last year.
The events are again proudly supported by the Victorian State Government as a presenting partner. FinTech Australia is currently taking inquiries for further sponsorships.