Lithuanian FinTech Awards have been held for a second time to celebrate the sector's leaders and their achievements. In seven categories, including Fintech Company of the Year, Startup, Innovator, and others, the nominee companies presented their success stories.
Ms. Lina Žemaitytė-Kirkman, Head of the Rockit Centre for Financial Technologies and Sustainable Innovations, which organized the awards, says such events are particularly important for the Lithuanian Fintech community.
"Looking back over the past year, we can assess the most vibrant players in our country's Fintech ecosystem and celebrate their achievements. It is they who are shaping not only the present but also the future of Lithuania's financial technology sector", Ms. Žemaitytė-Kirkman said.
The award jury, consisting of 14 members – investors, strategists, representatives of various organizations, and representatives of established Fintech companies from Lithuania and abroad – evaluated a total of more than 70 applications.
The Company of the Year award went to crowdfunding platform Heavy Finance, recognized for its significant contribution to the lending and investment markets and its support for growing businesses. Mr. Laimonas Noreika, its CEO and co-founder, shared the biggest challenge the company has faced.
"By providing financing solutions to help farms become more efficient and sustainable, we aim to make agriculture, one of the most polluting sectors, more environmentally friendly. The launch of five markets in the first 18 months since the start of the company has taken a lot of perseverance, but we are proud to be able to help both European farmers setting out on a more sustainable path and those who want to invest in loans for agricultural development," Mr. Noreika said.
The FinTech Growth Story of the Year nomination went to SME Bank, the first Lithuanian capital digital business bank. It was recognized for its hard work, excellence, and creativity, which have led to rapid but steady growth between 2020 and 2021. After obtaining its banking license, SME Bank started operations within six months and achieved its objectives within nine months. The company currently has more than 2,000 business clients and has issued more than EUR 1 million in business loans.
Financial technology company Kevin. was named Fintech Startup of the Year, private blockchain technology research lab SUPER HOW? became the Fintech Innovator of the Year, while the electronic payments company Paysera received the most votes from the public.
Ondato, a Lithuania-based compliance technology company, was announced the winner in the Fintech Enabler of the Year category, which was open to companies in the fields of cyber security, Insurtech, Regtech, and analytics, big data, identity, financial software, and related areas.
In addition to the awards for companies, one of them was dedicated to an outstanding personality who plays an important role in the Lithuanian Fintech community and contributes significantly to the development of the country's financial technology sector. The Fintech Leader of the Year award was presented to Ms. Agnė Selemonaitė, Chair of the Board of ConnectPay. Speaking about the Lithuanian Fintech ecosystem, she highlighted its strengths.
"We, as players in the ecosystem, can react quickly and change as circumstances change. When we want to, we are able to cooperate across institutions and between individuals; we have an understanding that we need to compete in the world, and the respectable position of the Licensed in Lithuania brand is a common goal for all of us," Ms. Selemonaitė said.
When assessing the current Fintech situation in the country, most participants stressed that Lithuania had talent, experience, and advanced regulatory institutions. They agreed that Lithuania needed to boldly take on new challenges, innovate in regulation and technology and strengthen the Fintech community to be both friendly and competitive, but most importantly, to stay ahead of the curve and keep growing.