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The Fintech Effect

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

Often known as the Oscars for the world of entrepreneurs and investors, according to its website, the world event has been running for 15 years and presents awards for numerous categories within the technology and start-up spheres. It culminated in the selection of the Allstar company of the year.

Five companies were shortlisted to present in front of a room full of peers and investors in London, who then went on to vote for the company most deserving of the coveted title.

This year's winner, LendInvest is one of the U.K.'s largest non-bank mortgage lenders. The company looks to disrupt the customer experience of "getting a mortgage" by leveraging technology to make mortgage applications faster and easier.

The goal is to remove the need to go through traditional banks which tend to have slower processes and systems. Financing comes from both individuals and large institutions, and is then invested in bridging and development finance as well as buy-to-let schemes.

To date, LendInvest investors have invested £1 billion ($1.3 billion) in loans and has reported a 20 percent revenue growth in the last year having been profitable for the last four.

"We will continue to grow by 50 percent a year and remain profitable in the future," said Co-Founder and CEO Christian Faes. "The mortgage market is a particularly outdated part of the financial services market," he added.

Asked about the impact of Brexit on the business outlook, he added that "while business slowed down shortly after the referendum, we then went on to have our strongest quarter ever. As our investors are sophisticated, they are focused on the opportunity set. The currency weakening has also helped attract new investors on the platform."

Other shortlisted companies for the award included e-sports brand FNATIC, the number one player in its space and boasting over 9 million followers on social media. The e-sports industry has exhibited extremely high growth in the last few years with estimates putting the global audience at 590 million by 2020. However, with almost half of viewers happy to be spectators and not players, FNATIC has expanded into merchandising, apparel and hardware.

Cyberintelligence was also a big theme at this year's awards. One of the finalists, MSAB, is the global leader in forensic technology for mobile device examination, supplying 97 percent of U.K. police forces with technology. Founder Joel Bello built the model on the principle that "the cell phone is the single most important piece of evidence you will find at a crime scene today," words of the former FBI Director James Comey.

Meanwhile, Garrison Technology, has focused on tackling cybersecurity by isolating internet browsing activities. Its objective is to disrupt traditional approaches to security by focusing on secure remote browsing as opposed to data, content or application security.

Peer-to-peer lending continues to be a big theme for the industry as OakNorth spelled out how it is addressing SME (small to medium business) lending in the U.K. by unlocking new revenue opportunities that have been overlooked by high street banks.

Last year's Allstar Award winner, DarkTrace, went on to complete its fourth round of funding in 2017 with a company valuation nearing $1 billion. 2017's winner LendInvest has also said it is looking to obtain a third round of funding imminently.