Innovate Finance, the membership association for UK’s global FinTech sector, has announced the winner of Pitch360, its first ever FinTech startup competition. The top prize was awarded to GuardSquare, a cyber security software firm that optimises and protects mobile apps against reverse engineering and tampering. Heidi Rakels, CEO and Co-Founder of GuardSquare, accepted the £10,000 cash prize last week during Innovate Finance’s Global Summit in London.
The winner also receives complimentary membership to Innovate Finance, tickets to the 2018 Innovate Finance Global Summit and the option to access top policy, PR and legal advice from Innovate Finance partners.
Contestants were asked to pitch for six minutes in front of a global audience in the Great Hall at the Guildhall. The finalists represented eight categories: AI, blockchain, cross-border payments, cyber security, financial inclusion, personal finance, alternative financing and regtech.
Judges for the event included Brett King, Bestselling Author and Presenter of the Breaking Banks podcast, Kosta Peric, Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maria Gotsch, President and CEO at the Partnership Fund for New York City and Rumi Morales, Executive Director and Head, CME Ventures at CME Group.
“As a judge, it was such an informative and rewarding experience to hear from 24 impressive young companies based all over the world, including Nigeria, Japan, and several European nations,” said Rumi Morales. “Ultimately, Heidi and Guardscale won out because of her comprehensive pitch that covered Guardscale’s elegant technology solutions to known industry problems, the company’s business model, overall market opportunity, and talented management team. My fellow judges and I congratulate them on their success and look forward to watching their continued growth.”
Heidi Rakels, Chief Executive Officer of GuardSquare said: “I want to thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to present GuardSquare to the international audience present at IFGS 2017. Innovate Finance manages year after year to assemble the most influential people in the FinTech field, the people that work hard to revolutionise the financial world. I didn’t think a security company would be able to win the Pitch360 competition. The fact that we did shows that FinTech companies and financial institutions are increasingly aware of the importance of security. I am convinced that the development of innovative technology should go hand in hand with the development of advanced security solutions. That is the only way innovative technology can be truly successful in the long run.”
Commenting on Pitch360 Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, said: “The pitches were really impressive and showcased the truly global talent that makes up FinTech. We were impressed by the calibre of the finalists and congratulate their superb performance. Whilst there can be only one winner, all of the contestants got great exposure pitching in front of a huge audience of investors, journalists and global FinTech influencers. GuardSquare protects mobile apps from cyber attacks and Heidi provided an excellent overview of the startup’s unique proposition to convince the judges and beat off tough competition. We look forward to supporting GuardSquare as a new member of Innovate Finance, as it continues to grow its business.”
Innovate Finance is an independent membership association that represents the UK’s global FinTech community. Founded in 2014 with the support of the City of London and Canary Wharf Group, Innovate Finance is a not-for-profit with over 250+ members that aims to accelerate the country’s leading position in the global financial services sector by directly supporting the next era of technology-led financial services innovators, whether they be a young startup or an established industry player. This is achieved through curated programmes based on member requirements, policy working groups and promotion through global press and social media. The goal is to create a single point of access across the sectors to help foster enabling policies, regulation, talent development, business growth opportunities and investment in the UK — and, most importantly, to create a global finance sector that offers services that are more sustainable, more inclusive and better for everyone.