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What are the FT Future of Fintech awards?
The awards aim to recognise the fintech companies and projects with the ability to bring lasting change to the financial services sector. The awards recognise both innovative ideas and the ability to bring them into widespread use. There are two categories, one for younger companies (the Innovation Award) and another for more established businesses (the Impact Award).
Why is the FT launching the Future of Fintech awards?
This is an interesting time for the fintech sector. Every part of the financial services industry is actively looking at new technologies, from blockchain to crowdfunding. At the same time, the first wave of enthusiasm for fintech businesses is coming to an end, and investors are growing more sceptical. Now is the time to try to separate out and highlight the ideas that really have staying power.
Who is eligible to enter?
The awards are open to companies worldwide. There are two categories: ‘Innovation’, for younger businesses and ‘Impact’ for more established companies.
In the ‘Innovation’ category we are looking for companies incorporated on or after 1 January 2012 and with an annual turnover lower than $3m. These companies should have received less than $30m in total investment and not more advanced than series A or B funding.
Companies that do not meet these criteria, because they are older, have raised more money or have a higher turnover should apply for the ‘Impact’ category.
An entry can be submitted for the whole business or for a section of the business that is focusing on an innovative solution (for example the blockchain team of a bank), but the total turnover for the entire company will be used for the entry criteria. The technology solution must demonstrate clear disruption/innovation and should exist in the form of a functional demo or prototype.
Can big companies enter?
Yes. We would advise large companies to submit an entry for a team rather than a whole business.
My business focuses on the insurance industry — can I enter?
Yes. We consider the insurance industry to be part of the financial services sector and would welcome insurance-related submissions.
My business idea is just a sketch at the moment — can I enter?
No. The minimum requirement is a working prototype or demo.
When will the shortlist be announced?
The shortlisted companies will be announced in September 2017.
What happens next?
The shortlisted companies will be invited to work with the FT to create short video presentations about their business, which will be shown at the FT’s Banking Summit on November 30, 2017. One winner will be announced for each category at the Banking Summit.
What are the judges looking for?
Companies need to demonstrate not only an innovative concept but also a clear business model and revenue stream that will ensure staying power and large-scale impact.
We will look primarily at: the novelty of the idea, evidence of a sustainable business model and the potential to have large-scale impact.
Companies will be evaluated by demo of the product or service, business plan, market opportunity and existing business metrics.
What is the prize?
All shortlisted companies will be featured in a Financial Times special report. There is no cash prize.
Who are the judges?
Please see details of the judging panel here.