From left to right: François Thill (jury member and Director of Cybersecurity at the Ministry of the Economy), Bart Gramberg (jury member and Innovation expert, KPMG Innovation), Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, Mike Kane (Winner and Co-founder of Hydrogen), Georges Bock (Partner at KPMG Luxembourg and co-founder of the Fintech Awards Luxembourg), Cristina Ferreira (jury member and Head of Regulatory Solutions & Innovation at State Street), Nasir Zubairi (CEO of the LHoFT, jury member and co-founder of the Fintech Awards Luxembourg), Ghela Boskovich (jury member and Head of Fintech/Regtech Partnerships at Rainmaking Innovation), and Pascal Denis (head of jury and Head of Advisory at KPMG Luxembourg) Copyright: Carsten Schröder.
Fintech company Hydrogen was announced as the winner of the third edition of the Fintech Awards Luxembourg on 20 June 2018 at KPMG Luxembourg’s headquarters in Kirchberg. Lingua Custodia and Apiax were, respectively, the first and second runners up. A special inclusive finance prize was awarded to BitValley for its blockchain-based technology helping small farmers in developing countries.
Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s Minister for Finance, presented the awards and congratulated the winners, highlighting how integral the Awards are in the success of a wider government commitment to fintech: “the Fintech Awards are special to me because the very fact that this is the third edition shows that the initiative the government took five years ago to push fintech is paying off, and that many companies from all over the world are ready to come to Luxembourg.” He added that, when it comes to setting up in Luxembourg, “startups have access to the right infrastructure and the right people to talk to, and benefit from an openness to world trade.”
The winners were chosen from a pool of 192 applications from 40+ countries, narrowed down to 13 semi-finalists, a group that ranged widely by geography coming from the US, China or Israel. The finalists focused on a number of sector such as regtech, blockchain, deposits or financial translation, all with high relevance to the Luxembourg Finance Sector.
Pascal Denis, co-organiser of the Awards and Partner at KPMG Luxembourg, noted that this diversity is indicative of the current position of fintech as an industry, commenting that:
“The challenge we experienced bringing the 192 applications down to 8 finalists is representative of the rapid development and expansion of fintech as a sector. From disruption in more traditional fields such as wealth management to using satellite technology paired with blockchain to calculate micro-insurance for farmers in developing nations, we were presented with ideas that showed the dynamic and transformative nature of fintech.”
Georges Bock, Partner at KPMG Luxembourg and co-founder of the Fintech Awards Luxembourg, continues, “The variety and standard of the competition is also reflective of the position Luxembourg is now occupying in the fintech space. The track record of past winners has been so far impressive and we look forward to seeing how these finalists and applicants further develop and prosper, and how they will contribute to the fintech industry generally.”
Pascal Denis headed a jury of six members, namely Nasir Zubairi (co-organiser of the Awards and CEO of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, or LHoFT), François Thill (Director of Cybersecurity at the Ministry of the Economy), Bart Gramberg (Innovation expert, KPMG Innovation), Ghela Boskovich (Head of Fintech/Regtech Partnerships at Rainmaking Innovation), and Cristina Ferreira (Head of Regulatory Solutions & Innovation at State Street).
Nasir Zubairi, co-organiser of the Awards and CEO of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, commented:
“The judging process was genuinely tough—we had by far the strongest line-up of fintech startups this year, which is a testimony to the continued growth of Luxembourg as an attractive fintech hub. Fintech startups are looking for capital and customers to help grow their businesses —and both are very readily available in Luxembourg. The ecosystem here is so tightknit that getting access to senior decision makers and getting a contract with a large institution is significantly easier than in any other centre I know of in Europe.”
The jury considered several criteria including quality of offering, growth potential, and the team. The prizes, presented by Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, were:
The objective of the Fintech Awards is to complement Luxembourg’s openness to innovation and hunger for new solutions particularly in financial technology. The event showcases the accessibility of the local ecosystem to Fintech firms; in attendance were venture capitalists, government representatives, and senior executives from the financial industry.