As my train speeds toward Ottawa, I’m collecting my thoughts after a packed two and a half days in Montreal for the 2018 FinTech Forum. I’m recalling the days when I could attend an event and share my thoughts right away. Those were the days!
Trust me, I’m not complaining – we are so busy now at FGS and growing like crazy. We are working with amazing clients and love what we’re doing. But, it’s becoming harder to attend as many events and stay current. We won’t stop though, because it’s the ONLY way to really know what’s happening on the ground in Canada’s FinTech ecosystem.
The 2018 FinTech Forum event surpassed my highest expectations. It was really great!
Everyone was raving about the networking which was a highlight for me, as well. There are so many new startups entering the market in Canada and getting traction and success quickly through the support and investment provided by Finance Montreal, Luge Capital, Holt Accelerator, BDC IT Ventures, Impression Ventures and Desjardin Labs – just to name a few of the key stakeholders.
Here are some of my impressions and key takeaways from the event:
Owl.co stole the show (again) and won the FinTech pitch contest, as did Symend. Both are excellent and much needed B2B FinTech solutions that will help financial institutions accelerate their use of technology to compete and provide a better client experience and business outcome.
Judi.ai launched (formerly known as Lendified Technologies) and the awesome Monique Morden (one of the too-few female founders/CEOs in Canada) received significant equity funding interest from Luge Capital and BDC's Women in Tech fund.
Desjardin Labs and Cooperathon were some of the most engaging, knowledgeable and experienced innovators on the scene. It’s clear why Desjardin is accelerating their position in the market with the talent at the event! Kudos to them.
Adam Gutman (don’t worry, I won’t tell your secret) from BDC Innovation shared some amazing experiences with their internal innovation challenges and it made me very happy to hear another corporate innovator share not only how hard it is to get corporate innovation right, but also how if you start with a solid strategy and clear executive support, you can be successful changing the hearts and minds of the rest of the organization.
And I would be remiss not to mention Paul Desmarais' announcement about another major FinTech fund for Canada – Portag3 is just going to keep getting bigger.
Overall, it’s clear to me that Canada is making progress in FinTech. We are starting to get coordinated and I can see the willingness to collaborate starting to take shape. More and more new companies entering AND coming from other countries to do business in Canada. Take Ivy Lender and Christina Camacho (yay, another female founder) who is choosing to put down some roots in Canada, instead of the US where she is from.
Stay tuned. The next few months and the coming year are going to be quite a ride!
– Sue Britton