Why is there a Professional Services Startup Award?

There's mounting interest in the new Professional Services Startup Award in advance of the Awards ceremony on 27 March. We're being asked why beaton has introduced this exciting new category in the Client Choice Awards and how the Finalists (and ultimate Winner) have been chosen.


From the largest professional services firms in the world to modest-sized practices , there's growing recognition that clients want better, faster and generally cheaper services. Traditional firms are seeking ways to sustain themselves in the face of hyper-competition and disruptors from many quarters.

Enter stage left ProfTech and new business models in professional services. Professional Services startups – and now scaleups – have been proliferating for over a decade, but are only now coming to the attention of mainstream clients and providers.

Traditional firms are intrapreneuring, investing in incubators and hubs, investors are plowing in billions, and entrepreneurs abound. It's time to recognise this game-changing trend in the world's only multi-profession awards where clients are the arbiter of excellence.

Well might you ask, if the Client Choice Awards are based on clients' ratings, i.e. votes, how is it possible to vote on a startup which has few, if any, clients? Read on.


First up, we adopted Steve Blank and Bob Dorf's definition of a start-up: "A temporary organisation used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model." Note there's no requirement for a startup to be a pure tech play, but the 'scalable' criterion means that there must be a major tech component.

Next we set the judging criteria: socio-economic benefits to clients, ingenuity of the idea, and executional excellence.

We then crowd-sourced entries via social media, hubs, incubators and technology associations. Details of the judging process may be found here. In summary, the beaton research team used the information provided by entrants to create a long-list on which several hundred C-suite leaders of medium-large professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand (on the basis these firms are direct and indirect prospective clients of / channels for / investors in the startups) were confidentially polled.

The resulting short-list of five provided short pitch videos which were independently judged by senior members of IP Australia, the Digital Innovation Festival, Economic Development, Victoria and beaton.


The five Professional Services Startup Finalists are:





Anika Legal

After the announcement of the Winner next week, the Finalists' pitch videos will be linked on this post.

The Professional Services Startup Awards for 2019 is sponsored by IP Australia.

Good luck next week!