After two days of digging deep inside the minds of innovators from across the payments, commerce and tech ecosystem — and debating, engaging and questioning the concept of what exactly is "payments at the edge" — Innovation Project 2016 did the next logical thing: honor the innovators that are taking those journeys to the edges of payments.
But, there's one thing left to do: honor the innovators that are creating the shifts across those industries that will impact where payments is headed over the next year, two years, five years and beyond. That's why the 2016 PYMNTS Innovator Awards were announced during a live Ceremony and Awards dinner to celebrate the conclusion the two-day, thought-leadership event.
That’s where the 2016 PYMNTS Innovator Awards came into play, announced during a live Ceremony and Awards dinner to celebrate the conclusion the two-day thought leadership event.
AKA: The Oscars for payments.
A night that included a leprechaun with a bitcoin problem, a few Donald Trumpisms, a Harry Potter doppelgänger — topped off with gold awards and speeches. IP2016’s nightcap of the action-packed event revealed who the PYMNTS community crowned as the top dog in their respective category.
What makes the PYMNTS Awards both special and unique is how the winners are chosen. Submissions are received by PYMNTS.com and reviewed by a panel of judges who are experts in innovation. They select five finalists for each category and that field is then presented to the PYMNTS community. Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists are awarded.
This means honoring the spirit of the entrepreneur, the leaders who inspired the generations before them, women pioneering the space, the CEO who overcame headwinds and built a tech startup into a million-dollar industry, or the leader who makes the products, services and companies that merchants, business owners and consumers rely on to make their lives a little bit easier to conduct business, send and receive payments, and conduct their everyday tasks. And leaders who change the way everyone thinks, acts and talks about money and the way it moves cross-border and cross-device.
And leaders, of course, who have taken payments to the edge and are preparing for what the next leap will be. Or perhaps the innovators that will make their way on the stage next year.
The PYMNTS Innovator Awards involve the innovators pitted against the perspective nine judges at the top of the payments industry. Beyond that, award candidates also received thousands of votes from their payments peers. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were distributed across 16 categories, including Most Innovative, Most Disruptive and Best Technology.
"I’m so pleased to congratulate all the award winners," said PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster during the evening event on March 17. “We had a record-breaking amount of votes this year and thanks to our impressive caliber of judges, I think we were able to truly recognize the best of the best in the payments industry this year."
Representatives from Square were on hand to receive the prestigious 2016 Catalyst Award, which recognizes companies that live up to the true spirit of innovation. In the year of its public debut, Square has done this by entering new markets and launching products like the Cash Drawer feature. And then companies like Uber was honored with the 2016 Matchmaker Award in Commerce.
The event also recognized the talents of an outstanding woman in the payments industry. The Women Innovating in Payments award was given to Talbott Roche, CEO and President of leading prepaid and payments network Blackhawk Network. Roche joined the company in 2001, when it was still a part of Safeway’s marketing division.
Dan Charron, First Data Executive Vice President and Head of Global Business Solutions, was named the YoPro Leader and Mentor. This award recognizes the efforts of an individual in a company who is fostering the developing of young professionals (YoPros) who will become the future of payments and commerce. This award launches PYMNTS commitment to establishing an industry-wide effort and focus to investing in the future of our industry.
Boomtown CEO and Founder Chip Kahn earned the Mike P. Duffy Leadership award, an accolade honoring the entrepreneurial spirit of the late Chase Paymentech executive Mike Duffy, who passed away in 2013 shortly before the first Innovation Project. Kahn founded and ran four payments & tech companies before launching BoomTown, which provides corporate tech support to SMBs.
For more information about the awards dinner and to see a full list of the PYMNTS Innovation Awards winners please visit the Innovation Project website or see the full list below.