Winners announced for Australia’s second annual fintech diversity awards — the 2019 Lift Off Awards
The second annual Lift Off Awards ceremony, produced by YBF Ventures, took place in the Ballroom of YBF Melbourne on 21 November 2019.
It was a buzzing atmosphere as leaders in fintech celebrated with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp; Senator Jane Hume, who is the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology; UK Consul General, Chris Holtby and US Consul General, Michael Kleine.
The night celebrated gender and cultural diversity — individuals as well as startups, scaleups and corporates — making positive impacts in the local and global fintech ecosystem.
The evening was co-hosted by YBF Ventures’ Chief of Staff, Jason Lim and author, Winitha Bonney.
Along with being a YBF Board Member, Jason Lim has been an investor and advisor to startups, and is an Entrepreneurial Fellow at the University of Melbourne as an alumnus of the Melbourne Accelerator Program. He is a regular guest speaker at high-profile startup events as well as the host of YBF Ventures’ own podcast People Building Businesses.
Winitha Bonney is an author, expert in the future of work and a leader in the advancement of women of colour, and founder of #ColourFULL – a new conference run by and for Australian women of colour in leadership and entrepreneurship.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp welcomed attendees with an opening address stating, “Diversity is what makes Melbourne special,” and later she went on to say that “the Lift Off Awards are so worthwhile both for our startup community and for diversity.”
Both Senator Jane Hume and UK Consul General Chris Holtby presented awards on the night: Diversity in Fintech Innovator of the Year andDiversity in Fintech of the Year — International, respectively.
Nominees were judged by a panel of industry leaders
Judges included co-hosts Jason Lim and Winitha Bonney, as well as:
- Code Like aGirl’s Founder & CEO, Ally Watson
- Melbourne Silicon Beach’s Athula Bogoda
- Startupbootcamp’s Fintech Managing Director, Brian Collins
- Tyro’s Chief Product Officer, Bronwyn Yam
- UK Consul General, Chris Holtby
- YBF Ventures CEO, Farley Blackman
- Lander & Rogers’ Chief Executive Partner, Genevieve Collins
- Latitude’sChief Risk Officer and YBF Fintech Hub Advisory Board member, Jo Mikleus
- Startup Victoria’s CEO, Judy Anderson
- Reinventure Fund partner, Lauren Capelin
- Foresight Digital’s Founder & CEO, Michelle Bourke
- Senior Lecturer and Director of Master Program (Entrepreneurship and Innovation) from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania, Onnida Thongpravati
- FinTech Australia’s General Manager, Rebecca Schot-Guppy
- Clover.com.au’s Co-founer & CEO, Sahil Kaura
- Director in Deloitte Digital’s Customer Strategy and Experience Design team and founding Managing Director of Girls in Tech Australia, Susan Brown
YBF Ventures would like to congratulate the award winners
Diversity in Fintech Innovator of the Year — presented by YBF Ventures
WINNER: XchangePeer represented by Masoud Abdi
Diversity in Fintech Collaborator of the Year — presented by Visa
WINNER: EY represented by Meredith Angwin
- Scale Investors
- Reinventure Fund
Diversity in Fintech Rising Star — presented by Lander & Rogers
WINNER: Longevity App represented by Dr. Carla Harris
- Longevity App
- Paypa Plane
Diversity in Fintech of the Year — International — presented by the UK Department for International Trade
WINNER: ZigWay represented by Miranda Phua (Myanmar)
- ChintaMoney (India)
- TrueLayer (UK)
- ZigWay (Myanmar)
Diversity in Fintech of the Year — Australia — presented by Tyro
WINNER: Timelio represented by Charlotte Petris
Coolest Branding 2019
WINNER: Xinja represented by Camilla Cooke
- Assembly Payments
Best Social Media 2019
WINNER: Finch represented by Shahirah Gardner
- Longevity App
Diversity in Fintech Student Leader of the Year
WINNER: Rosie Prom, University of Technology Sydney
- Brandon Saputra, UNSW Sydney
- Michael Vernon, Deakin University
- Rosie Prom, University of Technology Sydney
2019 Star of Social Impact — presented by YBF Ventures
WINNER: i=Change represented by Jeremy Meltzer
- Verve Super
Regtech of the Year — presented by Lander & Rogers *new for 2019
WINNER: Certainty Compliance represented by Michelle East
- Certainty Compliance
Vintage games garden
Along with a signature YBF awards ceremony, event activations included a a lolly bar, a vintage games garden (with a claw machine, a pinball machine and an original Ms. Pac-Man machine), a photo booth, a DJ and cocktails from Red Bull and canapés. The showpiece of the night was a giant, white hot air balloon sculpture sat in the middle of the stage for the event’s duration.
“The evening was electric”
EY, who won Diversity in Fintech Collaborator of the Year said,” We are absolutely thrilled to have our contributions to the fintech ecosystem recognised through the Lift Off Awards.”
Jeremy Meltzer and Catherine Ross from i=Change, who won the Star of Social Impact 2019award said, “It’s incredibly exciting. We’re trying to create a new normal within e-commerce and fintech and to be recognised for that is extremely humbling.”
Miranda Phua, Co-founder & CEO of Myanmar’s ZigWay, who won Diversity in Fintech of the Year — International said via video link, “We at ZigWay are excited to receive this award, not just as a female-led social enterprise, but as a company that represents the world’s most underprivileged. We appreciate your support to help people lift themselves out of poverty both here in Myanmar and beyond.”
Masoud Abdi, Co-founder & CEO of XchangePeer and winner of the Diversity in Fintech Innovator of the Year award said, “We’re happy to be recognised as the winner of this award. This is really amazing for XchangePeer,”
Michelle East, Director of Certainty Compliance, who won Regtech of the Year said about the importance of the Lift Off Awards, “We need to demonstrate that women can found tech companies and run successful companies. We need to stand up, be counted and show everybody what we can do.”
Farley Blackman, YBF’s CEO said, “The evening was electric. I’m so proud of the YBF team and the second incredibly-successful Lift Off Awards. When I joined the YBF team in 2017, I made it a personal mission to move the needle on gender diversity. Shifting from one woman on the team when I started to 58% female today has been an incredibly worthwhile journey. I firmly believe that diversity, gender, and more broadly, cultural, is essential for not just our tech ecosystem, but any ecosystem and a requirement for sustained performance and business survival.
“I sincerely thank everyone that came to the 2019 Lift Off Awards to celebrate diversity in fintech.”
A partnership between YBF Ventures and the Victorian Government
The inaugural Lift Off Awards launched in 2018 as part of the YBF Fintech Hub — a space dedicated to fintechs that was integrated into YBF’s 3,100 square-metre tech and innovation hub. The YBF Fintech Hub is a partnership between YBF Ventures and the Victorian Government and is Melbourne’s first and largest dedicated fintech hub — driving growth in Melbourne’s fintech arena.
Sponsors of the 2019 event included YBF Ventures, Lander & Rogers, Tyro, Visa, City of Melbourne, beaton, UK Department for International Trade, Scottish Development International, Ticker TV, Foreigner Brewing Co. and the Victorian Government.