About the award

The Professional Services Startup of the Year Award is a new category in the Client Choice Awards. We apply Steve Blank’s definition of a startup.

This Award has been introduced to celebrate socio-economic benefits to clients, ingenuity and excellence in the exploding applications of technology in professional services. The Professional Services Startup Award is different to the awards for firms and practitioners in the way the Award is adjudicated.

The Financial Review, IP Australia and beaton will publicise the Award, Finalists and the Winner intensely.

Is your startup eligible?

To determine if your startup is eligible, you will be asked questions in the Entry Form along these lines:

  • What professional or quasi-professional service in law and/or in accounting and tax and/or management consulting and/or in consulting engineering and built environment and/or in related services do you provide?
  • Whether you publicly refer to your business as a ‘startup’?
  • What stage you’re at: Bootstrapping, Seed funding or Series A funding?
  • What type of customers you predominantly serve, B2C and/or B2B?

Entry process

To enter you will need to complete three short sections covering your eligibility, essential details and what more we need to know about your startup.

Entries open on 14 January 2019 and close on 15 February 2019.

The entry form can be found here; completing the form should take you no more than 20 minutes.

Judging process

Here’s how the Professional Services Startup Award will be judged:

  • Stage 1: All entries will be assessed by beaton against three equally weighted criteria of expected/actual socio-economic benefits to clients, ingenuity and execution excellence. We will use information and links provided by you in Section 2: ‘Essential details’ and Section 3: ‘Tell us more about your startup’ of your entry form. A short list of entries will go forward to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Several hundred C-suite leaders of medium-large professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand will be confidentially polled by beaton on the short list of entries from Stage 1. Based on the websites of the short list, they will be asked to nominate the best five startups using the criteria of expected/actual socio-economic benefits to clients, ingenuity and execution excellence. The top five startups will be named the Finalists and go forward to Stage 3.
  • Stage 3: Each Finalist is invited to provide a 5-6 minute video pitching why they should win the 2019 Professional Services Startup Award. The videos will be judged by a panel comprising senior members of beaton and guests from IP Australia and the Digital Innovation Festival in Victoria.
  • The Finalists will be invited to the Client Choice Awards gala dinner on 27 March 2019 at the Sofitel on Collins, Melbourne. Finalists’ videos will play on a large screen in the reception areas throughout the evening. During dinner, the MC will announce the Winner and invite IP Australia to present the Award.
  • Please be aware there’s only glory for being the winner, no direct prize money. But no doubt investors will sit up and take notice. 


These are the key dates for the 2019 Professional Services Startup Award about which you need to know:

Entries open 14 January 2019
Entries close 15 February 2019
Finalists announced 27 February 2019
Top five Finalists submit a short video pitch – see Stage 3 above 8 March 2019
Winner announced 27 March 2019

Sponsor for the Award

IP Australia is a major sponsor of the 2019 Client Choice Awards.

IP Australia’s sponsorship covers the 2019 Professional Services Startup Award and the separate Innovation Award for Professional Services Firms.