Celebrating outstanding achievement in 15 hotly contested categories, the winners were announced virtually as part of this year’s LendIt Fintech USA conference, the largest virtual fintech event of the year.
The judging panel consisted of thirty leaders from banking and fintech, all of whom gave their time generously to review over 500 entries from around the world.
“Our purpose at LendIt Fintech is to elevate and celebrate the achievements of others,” says Bo Brustkern, LendIt Fintech Co-Founder, and CEO.
“This year has been a hard year for many banks and fintechs, and the many enterprises that support them. Now more than ever we need a reason to come together – even if it’s virtually – to recognize and applaud excellence in these circumstances. Out of challenging times comes true innovation, and that is very much reflected in this year’s cohort of winners. We offer our congratulations to all!” The winners come from a mix of categories, from companies to executives and female leaders in the sector. The full list includes:
Fintech Innovator of the Year: Stash
Despite shelving, its cashback program, Stash has seen significant growth during the pandemic by mixing investing education with accessibility and providing first-time investors with a way to dip their toe in the markets at a pace that works for the individual.
Executive of the Year: Colin Walsh, CEO of Varo Money
This year, the bank was the first US Neobank to receive a limited fintech charter from The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Fintech Woman of the Year: Nicky Goulimis of Co-Founder & COO of Nova Credit.
This year the company has seen unparalleled growth despite the pandemic, as it has set the standard for how ex-pats receive credit while living abroad.
Top Consumer Lending Platform: Upstart
When US banks delivered what many have described as a subpar approach to the PPP Loan Program companies like Upstart came in to fill the void and provide small businesses with the access to crucial capital that they needed to stay afloat.
Top Small Business Lending Platform: CircleUp
The company has established itself as “the” go-to-market route for new consumer brands.
Top Real Estate Platform: PeerStreet
Until very recently investing in real estate was something that was out of reach for the average individual. Now due to companies like PeerStreet individuals can get the benefits of investing in property without the hassle or expense of management.
Emerging Lending Platform of the Year: BlockFi
We’re seeing a new category of Crypto-based financial services coming into the mainstream. BlockFi enables users to seamlessly can use cryptocurrency to earn interest at up to 8.6% APY, borrow cash, and trade currencies.
Innovative in Digital Banking: Plaid
The company started with a simple idea of making digitizing access to accounts and making an individual’s banking identity portable. Now tens of millions have connected their accounts with Plaid and are doing things across the financial spectrum that weren’t possible just a few years ago.
Most Promising Partnership: Urjanet + Equifax
While millions are still reeling from the results of Equifax’s hack, the company has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of individuals who have no choice but to use their service. Despite this reality, and being part of a slow-moving category, it remains a market leader. Look no further for proof than its recent partnership with Urjanet to expand the definition of a credit profile and payment history to include bills from telecom and utilities. The result is meant to provide a better view of the viability of consumers and business borrowers
Top Service Provider: Visa
Many major companies have adopted fintech and a new way of doing business, but what most don’t know is this wouldn’t have been possible without Visa. From large name banks to new challengers, Visa has been behind some of the most major innovations in Fintech, and according to one executive, “they’re only getting started”
Top Law Firm: Orrick
Innovation and Law Firms are two terms that are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. While many of Orrick’s competitors refuse to adopt a new way of doing business, Orrick is leaning into the future. They’ve been the trusted partner and advisor to a number of fintechs and continue to earn the respect of the industry.
Excellence in Financial Inclusion: Branch
In the last year as the shortcomings of society have been revealed, many companies have scrambled to quickly get on the right side of history. While Branch has been on a clear mission since it’s founding. This award shows the company has exceeded expectations by building a business based on altruism and inclusion.
Top Technology Service Provider: Blend
The term disruption is often overused and as inflated as innovation, yet when it comes to Blend, the company is both disruptive and innovative in the most important ways. The company is laying the foundation to change the relationship people have with their money and financial service providers.