An interview with the finalists of the Finnies Awards – Excellence in Support Services with Till Payments

In the lead-up to the 6th annual Finnies Awards, we speak to some of the category’s finalists for Excellence in Support Services. 

The Finnies Award celebrates the best of Australia’s thriving Fintech industry, commending the most inspiring, innovative and ground-breaking work of the past year within our sector. Uniquely, the ‘Excellence in Support Services’ category recognises organisations that enable the fintech community to achieve growth and innovation by assisting with operational or business services or by providing access to spaces, connections or capital. 

Who are the category finalists?

This year, the finalists for Excellence in Support Services span across various disciplines, from King & Wood Mallesons, K&L Gates and The Fold Legal providing support in the field of law, governance, and compliance to Birchal and Fundsquire enabling access to all-critical funding to RSM, Astero and Think & Grow sharing expertise in cybersecurity, risk management, finance and growth. 

Fintech support services are the backbone of our community. The finalists represent just a small selection of the professionals and organisations who exist to uplift our burgeoning fintech community and we at Till Payments, are proud to be sponsoring the award to shine a light on these deserving candidates.  

 

At Till, we understand the power of community. In fact, without the support of our staff, investors and the broader fintech community, we know there’s a limit to our success. The nominees each do their part to move our industry forward, so we ask them to tell us why supporting the fintech sector is an important mission for them…

 

Matt Vitale, Co-founder & MD, Birchal

Fintech is a sector where Australia truly punches above its weight. The quality of fintech companies founded in Australia, and the innovative products and services they have created should make us all extremely proud. As a relatively stable nation, with a robust and highly regarded regulatory framework, the opportunity to re-shape the future of financial services from Australia is exciting and inspiring in equal measure.

Damien Petty, CEO & Founder, Fundsquire

Fintech continues to alter financial services, and has helped in quicker, more transparent, sustainable progress by empowering underserved populations and businesses. Bringing together more individuals and businesses together, the Australian fintech industry continues to push forward the growth potential of the country’s economy. 

Darren Booth, National Head of Cyber Security & Privacy Risk Services, RSM

The diversity in the organisations makes the projects interesting, but the main thing is the people in the Australian FinTech industry are world class. It’s great working with people who have the knowledge and passion to make a change through the products they that developed.

Michele Levine, Special Counsel and Jaime Lumsden, Partner, The Fold Legal

The fintech industry promotes innovation, change, consumer-centric and human-designed products and services and competition. The Fold Legal has always been an avid supporter and ally for change and innovation. We see the fintech industry as a key growing market and want to partner with fintechs that are challenging the status quo and bringing in a new wave of innovation.

 

Effective collaboration and strategic partnerships breed excellence in support services. As an open organisation, Till fully appreciates the positive impact that collaboration can have on growth and innovation so we ask our finalists to share insights into what makes them a great partner…

 

Urszula McCormack, Partner – Cross Border Finance and Technology, King & Wood Mallesons

Because we listen, we understand what people are trying to achieve, which means we’re better able to assist them on the how. The story of fintech is the story of courage and experimentation – so we work with everyone from start-ups right through to unicorns and the world’s largest banks. KWM’s focus is on enabling the creativity of our clients to launch big ideas, run successful transactions and resolve any dramas as they arise.  For each matter, we build a team of KWM lawyers with the right mix of skills and experience to craft solutions that meet their objectives.

Sandeep Kumar, Founder & CEO, Astero

Each fintech has specific cyber security risks and growth plans, and we work closely with our clients and their stakeholders to understand their businesses and provide practical solutions. Astero’s innovative approach to cyber security and deep experience in the fintech industry also makes us a great partner in the broader ecosystem. For example, our joint ‘CDR in a box’ offering for the Consumer Data Right (CDR) and Open Banking is an end-to-end solution developed in partnership with fellow FinTech Australia members Adatree, AssuranceLab and DNX.

Darren Booth, National Head of Cyber Security & Privacy Risk Services, RSM

We understand the challenges facing entrepreneurial, growth-focused, FinTech organisations. Whether it is audit, tax or cyber security, our experience means that we understand what needs to be done and how to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible. This allows the FinTech to focus on their core purpose.

Matt Vitale, Co-founder & MD, Birchal

At Birchal, as a regulated fintech organisation ourselves, we’ve experienced first-hand many of the issues our fintech clients need to traverse on their journeys. As a highlight on this point, we recently used our own platform to raise capital for ourselves in the same way our clients have done. 

Equity crowdfunding is new in Australia, but the potential value it can add to fintechs and others by delivering fast and efficient capital to businesses cannot be overstated. As a new industry though, a large part of our role is to educate the market and a variety of stakeholders about what we do.

Damien Petty, CEO & Founder, Fundsquire

Fundsquire works with expansive, best-in-their class partners, and we are committed to forming trusting relationships, successful outcomes, open communication, and growth for all involved. Our approach to integrated services offers not just a wealth of resources to our clients, but also early engagement and retention opportunities for our partners.

We understand that no growth path is the same for two businesses. Which is why for our customers, we strive to create this deepened partner community, which offers a broad toolbox of connections and perks to take their business to the next level.

Michele Levine and Jaime Lumsden, The Fold Legal

We don’t just answer the question asked – we aim to understand our partner’s objectives, drivers and design solutions that help them achieve their objectives (even if it is the solution that they did not envisage). Our solutions provide speed to market and flexibility for expansion in a cost-effective way. This may mean taking a staged approach or building out a product and service road map for the short to medium term. 

We’re known for our technical expertise and industry knowledge that we leverage to provide practical solutions for our clients. We are experts in niche and emerging areas and we are sought out in areas where few others have the expertise or experience and are trusted by clients when they want to break new ground or enter a new regulated environment.  

What sets us apart is that we aren’t just lawyers – we put our extensive network of business relationships at the service of our clients to connect them to the people and services they need.  We see ourselves as an ecosystem partner that harnesses opportunities for fintechs.

The pace of innovation has accelerated and what better way to wrap up the conversation than to look into the crystal ball at the next 12 months. What do our finalists think will have evolved in fintech support services to drive competition and add more value to the fintech sector?

 

Urszula McCormack, Partner – Cross Border Finance and Technology, King & Wood Mallesons

It is such an exciting time, with enormous opportunities for those willing to dive in and do the work.  In Australia, we have a whole new payments and crypto legal and regulatory framework on the cards.  Over the next 12 months, it will be essential to have advisors on your side who are actively involved in policy development to drive long-term strategies.  This is a big focus for us in Australia and internationally.  In the meantime, we’re seeing a big drive on securing licences and registrations under existing Australian regimes, so traditional experience plays a very valuable role.  Secondly, the fintech sector is global – many of our clients are building their regional and global strategies.  So being able to assist clients with the “where in the world” question is key.  For our private capital clients, the question becomes “who in the world” and strategically executing with our colleagues across markets.  For technical service providers, the most critical attribute is being able to build products and services that help fintech players efficiently meet their growing and changing regulatory obligations around the world. 

Darren Booth, National Head of Cyber Security & Privacy Risk Services, RSM

 There are macro level economic challenges over the next 12 months, which will further focus the need of support services to provide value for money through practical advice based on experience working through different types of challenges.

Matt Vitale, Co-founder & MD, Birchal

We’re heading into a very different business environment over the next 12 months, particularly for capital raising. Support services, like the businesses they support, will need to adapt to these new conditions. Support services that are able to deliver capital to businesses to get them through this stage of the cycle will be hugely valuable.  

Sandeep Kumar, Founder & CEO, Astero

We think that the recent growth of the fintech industry and ongoing regulatory reform over the next 12 months will see new entrants providing fintech support services. Increased competition will be favourable for fintechs given the current economic outlook, and specialised services will help fintechs stay ahead of the curve to deal with increased regulatory complexity.

 Damien Petty, CEO & Founder, Fundsquire

We believe the rise of embedded finance will dominate the future of Fintech. It will support and push businesses who previously were not Fintech adopters to use it. We strongly feel that this new support will empower businesses, provide them with flexibility, more possibilities and help them capitalise on these new opportunities. Embedded Finance definitely plays a big role in where we see the future roadmap of the Fundsquire platform and product.

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