UK-based growth-stage startup Everledger bagged the Fintech Finals 2016 prize in Hong Kong on Tuesday beating 23 other startup finalists that presented their respective financial technology business models.
Everledger was judged “Best in Show” and was awarded with the $10,000 grand prize. The team is a permanent ledger for diamond certification and related transaction history and acts as verification for insurance companies, owners and law enforcement.
InvoiceInterchange from Singapore won Early Stage Start-up award, Uniken from India nailed the Growth Stage Start-up category, and 8Securities from Hong Kong was judged the best Mature Stage Start-up.
The two-day event became part of the week-long ongoing StartmeupHK Festival. The 24 finalists were given six minutes to pitch their business ideas in front of judges and a live audience of fintech professionals, enthusiasts and media.
The 20 other finalists were Apvera (Singapore), Bitnexo (Hong Kong), Bitspark (Hong Kong), BondIT (Israel), Coinalytics (USA), Currenseek (Malaysia), Funding Societies (Singapore), GoLend (Hong Kong), Macrovue (Australia), Neat (Hong Kong), Optiacs (Russia), Otonomos (Singapore), Playbasis (Thailand), SayPay (India), Scaled Risk (France), ShereIt (India), TradeSocio (Mauritius), VLendRight (India), Voleo (Canada), and Wayerz (Israel).
The startups were assessed on the following criteria: business model application, scale and robustness; transformative concept and technology; market opportunity and size; customer experience design and ease, financial opportunity and forecasts, and also quality of team presentation.
Nxt Bank founder Rob Findlay said, “These are the individuals that are shaping the future of fintech here in Asia for all of us.”
One of the judges Ruben Salazar, who heads product development at Visa in Asia-Pacific, said, “The fintech community in Asia is strong and very active with large and small firms collectively responding to consumer needs.”
Findlay said, they chose the 24 finalists with a particular focus on Asia through different ways, first from an open online application, second via nominations from members of leading accelerator and incubator programs, and thirdly by running six open pitch competitions in six cities across Asia, starting in Singapore, followed by Mumbai, Bangalore, Sydney, Seoul and finally Kuala Lumpur, respectively.
Quoting from Accenture, Findlay said, investments in fintech across Asia-Pacific skyrocketed in 2015 – from about U$880 million in all of 2014 to nearly $3.5 billion in just the first nine months of 2015, putting the year at a total projected $5 billion taking into account a frantic last quarter.
“And it will continue at pace – analysts at MarketResearch.com predict annual global investment to reach US$46 billion by 2020,” Findlay added, noting banks are now utilising more fintech startup products and services.