Here are the winners of the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2021

MIAMI, Florida – On February 8, LendIt Fintech hosted an awards show and dinner at the Lowes Beach Hotel at SouthBeach Miami for the 5th Annual Industry Awards to celebrate top fintech influencers and innovators.

The awards event capped off two days of networking, overlooking the beach. In no particular order, these winners are the best of the best, a sampling of hundreds of nominations submitted from September 21 to December 10, 2021.

Fintech Innovator of the Year: Nubank

The Innovator of the Year is awarded to the company that has demonstrated a strong culture of transformation over the past year, producing game-changing change in the industry. This year’s Contenders feature a variety, newly opened neo-banks, BNPL, lenders and commerce ecosystem leaders.

Haymaker Capital’s Phin Upham presented the award. The judges praised Nubank for finding a solution to the demand for inclusive banking services in Latin America.

“Nubank set out to solve a huge problem and has so far succeeded beyond expectation,” the judges said. “Their high level of success speaks to the enormous need for their products and the company’s ability to deliver.”


  • Plaid
  • To assert
  • Marqueta
  • Brighterion
  • Intuitive

Leader of the Year: Scott Sanborn, Loan Club

The Senior Manager of the Year is awarded to the senior manager who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, performance and team spirit within his or her company.

The finalists are a non-exhaustive list of many inspiring leaders who do so while contributing to the advancement of the industry.

“Among a list of incredibly impressive fintech executives, Scott stands out for revitalizing the company he leads,” the judges said. “He’s vying to win, as evidenced by his company’s bold move, becoming the first US fintech to buy a bank.”


  • Jennifer Tescher, Financial Health Network
  • Steve Smith, Finicity
  • Jason Wilk, Dave
  • Dave Girouard, Upstart
  • Prashant Fuloria, Fundbox

Fintech Woman of the Year: Luvleen Sidhu

Like the Senior Executive of the Year category, but fintech-focused woman: the award given to the senior executive who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, performance and commitment to promote gender diversity within its company and in the industry in general.

“Luvleen demonstrates exceptional leadership, fosters gender diversity, and harnesses wisdom beyond her years. As CEO of a public company, she is a leader and role model to many,” the judges said.


  • Jo Ann Barefoot, AIR
  • Luvleen Sidhu, BMTX
  • Wendy Cai-Lee, Piermont Bank
  • Rania Succar, Intuit
  • Stephany Kirkpatrick, Orum
  • Rochelle Gorey, SpringFour

Innovation in digital banking: Plaid

As open banking, accessibility and inclusiveness become synonymous with the future of banking, this award recognizes the company that has demonstrated a strong culture of innovation, producing significant advances in banking technology digital over the past year.

“This industry giant continues to create breakthrough technology that enables fintech growth,” the judges said.


  • Nubank
  • Running
  • MX
  • Merit
  • Nami

Best consumer lending platform: LendingClub

Consumer loans are hotter than ever, thanks to the BNPL, small-dollar loans, and innovations like Early Access Payroll. This award is given to the best consumer lending platform based on a combination of lending performance, volume, growth, product diversity and innovation.

“LendingClub continues to deliver value through innovation,” the judges said. “Their work on AI explainability is driving the industry forward.”


  • LendingPoint
  • Before
  • Serious
  • Caribou

Best Small Business Lending Platform: SmartBiz Loans

Especially during the pandemic, SME lenders have helped support small businesses while quarantines kept customers away. These major competitors, among many others, have kept the economy going through loan performance, volume, growth, product diversity and innovation.

“SmartBIz helps rebuild small businesses, crushing them with SBA loans and fast loan approvals,” the judges said.


  • Credible
  • Biz2Credit
  • Payability
  • Checkout
  • Dependent

Best real estate platform: LendInvest

At LendIt LatAm, real estate has proven to be an important fintech industry trend. This award is given to the best real estate platform based on a combination of lending performance, volume, growth, product diversity and innovation.

“We like the vision,” the judges said. “LendInvest understands all the techniques and is quickly becoming a traditional lender.”


  • Peer Street
  • Sharestates
  • Point
  • Ground floor
  • Kiavi (ReadyHome)

Emerging Lending Platform: Wisetack

Online lending has been a cornerstone of fintech since the beginning. These companies are learning from the past and working towards the future, with the award given to a young company that demonstrates the most significant potential impact on the future of online lending.

“Wisetack is a cutting-edge company that provides advanced investment functionality,” the judges said, “with a rich API suite that allows banks to democratize access to wealth-building tools.”


  • ForwardAI
  • Kafen
  • Instantaneous
  • Atomic Investment
  • Taba Pay
  • Percent

CryptoFin: Cross River

A segment of fintech that has ignited like wildfire this year, these finalists showed the best application of crypto technology in traditional finance. The winner of this award is expected to demonstrate a vital bridge between traditional finance and crypto to encourage greater adoption.

“These fintech pioneers have been nimble and forward-thinking from the start,” the judges said. “Their Coinbase partnership underscores their ability to drive the ball forward with every new innovation trend.”


  • Chain link
  • Visa
  • Sila Bitso
  • Figure

Most Promising Partnership: Ocrole & Plaid

In a year of endless consolidation and buying, these partnerships symbolize that not every company needs to buy out their competitor. This award is given to the company that has concluded and publicly announced an innovative collaboration in the fintech community.

“We are optimistic about this combination: two companies with excellent reputations, driving efficiency and delivering value to the end customer,” the judges said.


  • New Energy Nexus & Rise, created by Barclays
  • Barclays & Anthemis Group
  • OakNorth and Former National Bank
  • TransUnion and Spring Labs
  • Finicity & Tomo Credit

Best service provider: Manate

What would fintech be without the help of experts? This award is given to the service provider, law firms, accountants, trusts, etc., who have demonstrated deep expertise, unique value, strong return on investment, commitment to clients and the promotion of deeper understanding of fintech.

“Service providers in the fintech industry are exceptional in all areas,” the judges said. “Manatt has differentiated itself through its deep experience, fintech expertise and impeccable reputation.”


  • Deloitte
  • Klaros Group
  • Millennium Trust
  • Dechert LLP
  • Lens Solutions

Best Technology Service Provider: Quantity

Without background infrastructure, fintech is nothing. This award is given to the technology company with the most significant impact on the fintech market.

“The future of financial services depends on how well we perform the function of ‘integrated finance’,” the judges said. “He’s a real leader in this category.”


  • LoanPro
  • Equifax
  • Galileo Financial Technologies
  • Ocrole
  • To prove

Excellence in Financial Inclusion: Tricolor

As the LendIt LatAm speakers presented, Financial inclusion can mean success: succeed together or fail separately. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest difference in expanding access to financial services in new and innovative ways.

“Tricolor punches above its weight while addressing mobility issues among the 60 million Hispanic population in the United States,” the judges said.


  • Experian
  • OpFi
  • Timely
  • GoHenry
  • Lili

Emerging fintech: Atomic Investing

New for 2022, this award is given to the most promising young fintech company across all verticals. The contenders are young, scrappy, hungry companies with a real chance of becoming a leader in their category in the years to come.

“This cutting-edge company offers advanced investment features,” the judges said. “With a rich API suite that allows banks to democratize access to wealth building tools.”

The finalists:

  • Percent
  • Taba Pay
  • Instantaneous
  • Kafen
  • ForwardAI

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