Monday 29th October saw the 2018 Scottish Fintech Awards held at The Royal Bank of Scotland Gogarburn Headquarters in Edinburgh. The evening was a collaboration among leading Scottish companies; The Royal Bank, FWB Park Brown, The Times and Dell Technologies. The event is one of the largest Fintech pitches held in Scotland with a prize fund of £125,000 to be shared across two award categories; ‘PowerUp’ and ‘Blue Sky’. More than 40 companies entered the competition with 7 finalists pitching live on the evening. There were around 300 guests in attendance including business leaders, tech experts, entrepreneurs, politicians as well as the media. A key partner of the event Scott Black, Managing Director, FWB Park Brown; had the following to say about the event “The growth of Fintech is proving to be one of the most remarkable changes in, and opportunities for, the Scottish economy. It has the potential to stretch all of our levels of ambition and the intention behind these awards is both to celebrate as well as stimulate.”
After welcoming everyone Mike Crow, Head of UK Regional Affairs, Royal Bank of Scotland kicked off the evening with the ‘Blue Sky’ Fintech Award pitching competition. This award was aimed at early-stage financial technology businesses or individuals with new ideas. Open to pre-revenue companies trading for less than a year, entries were judged on originality and innovation and on their potential market impact. The winner of this category and receiving a prize of £10,000 was Trade in Space, a company who digitise agricultural assets using satellite images, which may help farmers access finance. The runner up Scoop Markets received £5,000. Third was Cyborn and Fourth place went to Money Matic.
Up next was a panel Q&A session with: David Ferguson, Chief Executive of Nucleus Finance; Daniel Glazer, Founding Partner of the London office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; Kate Forbes, MSP Minister for the Digital Economy, Gerry McCusker, Chief Executive of Dog Digital & Chair of BIMA Scotland; and Ana Stewart, Founder of i-design and who also devised and launched atmAd, now one of the largest outdoor digital media channels in the UK.
After dinner saw the final pitches of the evening and the ‘PowerUp’ Fintech Awards competition. This award was for financial technology companies that have been trading for less than three years. All pitchers are at minimum viable product (MVP) stage onwards and the judging was based on originality and innovation as well as on validation and traction. The winner of this category was Broker Insights, a Dundee-based business connecting insurers and brokers, winning £80,000. Runner up in this category was Soar who received £20,000 and third place Hatch-AI receiving £10,000. All seven finalists will feature in The Times article and have been offered a place on the Royal Bank of Scotland Accelerator Programme.
Finishing up the evening was keynote speaker Calum Paterson, Manging Partner of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Chair of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA). SEP is a leading UK provider of venture capital and growth equity for technology and technology-enabled-companies. Calum co-founded SEP in 2000 and has led the firm since, working across its offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.