Canada’s fintech scene, which includes the thriving hubs of Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, is looking rosy after a strong 2021 that saw the highest-ever levels of fintech investment in the country. In round two of our two-part focus on ‘fintech in Canada’, we hear from 10 more fintechs making waves in the industry.
Canada’s role in the global fintech ecosystem is on the rise with 2021 a record year for fintech investment in the country. According to KPMG, fintech investment in Canada soared to $6.4billion in 2021 with 162 deals – both record highs for deal value and deal count. While data from one of Canada’s largest law firms, Fasken, revealed funding successes in the second half of 2021 with a total of 77 venture capital-backed deals over 72 companies.
Canada has more than 1,200 fintech companies with Toronto its largest commercial hub. The innovation ecosystem in Toronto is supported by the region being the second largest financial centre, and having the highest concentration of financial services employment, in all of North America. Canada is also home to some of the largest banks, insurance firms, and asset managers in the world.
In addition, Toronto is North America’s fastest-growing tech market, adding more than 80,000 tech jobs in the past five years. Technology talent now comprises 10.2 per cent of total employment in Toronto, the third highest concentration in North America.
Canada is also globally recognised for its thriving artificial intelligence (AI) business environment, ranking fourth in the Global AI Index for its global competitiveness in AI implementation, innovation and investment.
“Fintech investment in Canada skyrocketed to almost $5billion in the first half of 2021, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2017.”
As well as rising investment, a growing number of strong ecosystem collaborations are expected to boost fintech growth, according to Accenture’s Canada Fintech Report 2021.
For example, the Toronto founded accounting software company FreshBooks, which recently achieved unicorn status through its last private round of investment, acquired an accounting software company in Germany named FastBill and as a result is rapidly expanding into the German, Austrian and Swiss markets.
Canadian fintechs that picked up the status of ‘fintech unicorn’ in 2021 included multiplatform banking firm Wealthsimple, cloud banking company FreshBooks, regtech Trulioo, NFT firm Dapper Labs, Bitcoin miner Blockstream and e-commerce investor Clearco. Toronto-based fintech Koho is close to joining their $1billion unicorn ranks after bagging a $210million Series D financing in February this year.
Top fintechs from across Canada are part of a business mission to Frankfurt and Berlin, organised by Toronto Finance International, a public-private partnership which drives the growth and competitiveness of the financial services sector, and is also the lead voice for the promotion of the Toronto Financial Centre around the world. The delegation represents the diversity of Canadian fintechs marching towards global growth and rapid expansion across Europe.
Let’s meet 10 innovative Canadian fintechs and hear their plans for the year ahead.
Boss Insights is an award-winning open banking specialist, providing access to business customers’ financial data. It’s a single connection to accounting, commerce, payroll, tax and more, used by fintechs, private lenders and financial institutions to gain 36 per cent faster funding, five times faster monitoring & 60 per cent cost savings. Boss Insights has 1000+ APIs to gather SMBs’ financial data and a platform to originate, decision and monitor requests.
Boss Insights says: “Forbes highlighted Boss Insights for solving one of the hottest banking technologies trends: digital loan origination. With our platform and real-time financial data, fintechs and financial institutions have accelerated services to business clients and lower costs. We will build on this to show greater accuracy for business products including loans, funding, payments, credit cards and business insights.”
BlueRush is an emerging personalised video creation software as a service company that provides financial institution customers with personalised video marketing and sales capabilities. The IndiVideo platform lets customers add personalisation, calls to action and other dynamic elements to video assets hosted anywhere. BlueRush’s proprietary advanced templated system integrates easily with any video hosts, distributes videos to a wide audience cost-effectively and at scale, and also meets strict compliance, governance and data protection regulations.
BlueRush says: “We have recently partnered with Brightcove, a large video hosting and publishing platform and we are offering our IndiVideo for sales and marketing platform to Brightcove’s thousands of customers. With our recent raise, we will grow more partnerships and further enhance our IndiVideo for Sales features to close the gap in sales enablement for large financial institutions.”
impak Finance is an impact assessment and rating agency based in Europe and Canada whose mission is to help investors and lenders make more sustainable decisions by providing them with assessments that go beyond ESG and include both the negative and positive impacts of their assets. It combines technology and human expertise to provide the first 360 impact assessment which offers investors qualitative and quantitative standardised data.
Impak Finance says: “Ramping up our impak Analytics platform and integrated business intelligence (BI) software will allow for easy benchmarking of any piece of data against peers and across portfolios in addition to customisable thematic modules providing environmental and social data contextualisation.”
Peloton’s mission is simple: to make all payments simple and efficient. The Peloton Platform brings together card payments, domestic transfers, international transfers & FX into a single unified portal. Combine that with an e-commerce store, integration to QuickBooks and Xero and the ability to handle in-store and online transactions in the same portal and the unified payments solution gives users an all-in-one tool to handle their payments needs.
Peloton says: “We recently completed an equity crowdfunding campaign raising over $435,000. We’ll be using the funds to expand our team and continue to deliver innovative solutions to our partners. We’ll be working with neobanks and resellers to launch the platform internationally as well as help replace legacy systems within North America.”
Quantolio is a data-oriented software company that specialises in delivering data solutions to various customers in the financial services industry. Amine El Kaouachi founded the company in 2017 with a mission to transform the data to decision processes. Employing several specialists in the field of finance and computer science, Quantolio works with customers to write custom software to integrate into their workflow to assist in their decision process and specialises in leveraging cutting edge machine learning techniques.
Quantolio says: “We are currently expanding to make AI more accessible to more businesses around the world. In the coming months, Quantolio will be launching a data platform that will allow portfolio managers to make better rebalancing decisions. We are going through an expansion to bring more talent to the team in order to develop a series of products that encompasses their product catalog as of now.”
INETCO Systems Ltd
INETCO provides the payment industry with next generation solutions for real-time detection and blocking of payment fraud, insider fraud and advanced persistent threats; real-time detection and blocking of sophisticated DDoS and cyber threats existing solutions can’t detect; real-time analytics and data streaming; payment network operational monitoring. Sophisticated DDoS, BIN, terminal and other high velocity attacks are automatically detected and blocked without blocking or adding latency to legitimate transactions.
INETCO says: “After completing our growth equity round in Q2-2022, we are planning on doubling headcount to support the growth in INETCO BullzAI customers, working towards setting up additional satellite sales offices and continuing to develop our fraud and DDoS prevention capabilities including solutions to reduce a variety of fraud attacks in the growing crypto and NFT space.”
Blockchain Intelligence Group
Blockchain Intelligence Group – a subsidiary of BIGG Digital Assets – is a cryptocurrency investigation and compliance company. Banks, crypto companies, fintechs, and governments rely on its technology to investigate and risk-score crypto transactions. Blockchain Intelligence Group was the first company to provide crypto investigations and expert testimony in a court case. Since founded, its priority has been 100 per cent confidence in the data and insights it helps create.
Blockchain Intelligence Group says: “We launched the first Crypto Compliance Playbook for the US to support financial institutions and crypto startups. Similar guides are slated for other markets in Q2 2022. New capabilities and strategic partnerships are slated in Q2 and Q3 to help bolster client satisfaction, leadership, and differentiation.”
nanopay is a global payments technology company based in Toronto. It provides a platform for innovation that empowers banks and businesses to deliver new payment experiences for their clients. Built on next generation centralised ledger technology, the platform delivers a high level of performance and resilience. The technology was created by bringing together the most valuable characteristics of blockchain – security, tamper resistance and immutability, without giving up the low cost, scalability and ease of use of conventional databases.
nanopay says: “In the coming 12 months, we will continue to expand globally, signing new partnership deals with banks, neobanks, fintechs, and software companies delivering next generation solutions for their clients. Our customers can choose between a white label solution which requires little technical investment or API integration that provides a fully-integrated custom solution for their clients.”
MinervaAI is a modern deep-learning platform that automates real-time client risk assessment for KYC/onboarding and ongoing monitoring for AML/CFT. By instantly leveraging billions of pieces of open-source data, the MinervaAI solution delivers deeper, more effective risk assessment results. In less than 30 seconds, the solution performs in-depth screening and risk assessment, contemplating over 4.5 billion data points in 55 languages. Information is automatically processed, collapsed into a manageable list of high-confidence consensus clusters, and assembled into a single audit-proof investigation report.
MinervaAI says: “We constantly invest in our data, cultivating from global sources to make sure our customers have what they need and set the right thresholds for risk. We are also implementing an integrated identification verification capability in Q2 2022, which will allow our customers to automate onboarding and the ongoing sanctions screening and periodic review of their existing customers.”
Remitbee is one of Canada’s leading providers in online international money transfers and currency exchange with more than 100,000 users. As a fintech, Remitbee leverages advanced technology to improve its customers’ experience, putting its clients at the centre of everything project. It has developed a mobile and web platform that supports customers and is user-friendly to ensure customers always have a positive experience, allowing them to send money quickly, securely and at a low cost.
Remitbee says: “Our primary goal is to reduce the high fees of sending money by simplifying the traditional process with our mobile and web applications. We are also investing in research and development to capture the expected $10trillion market in the digital banking space. Our leadership has cultivated experience and in-depth industry knowledge to acquire the talents to make this happen.”