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The fintech industry has seen its share of growth in recent years. Despite a tumultuous global economy, investor interest in the space has remained steady. Global fintech funding reached $75B in 2022, and a report by KPMG suggests Canadian fintech investors remain optimistic about the future.
This is no surprise. At its core, financial technology companies, or fintech companies, combine traditional finance with technological innovation. From peer-to-peer lending platforms to advances in accounting, investing, and mobile banking, fintech startups have disrupted traditional banking and revolutionized how we handle money.
In Canada, fintech startups can benefit from a robust financial sector and a thriving startup ecosystem. With access to top tech talent and some of the world’s most prominent banks, Canadian fintech companies are worth watching.
Here are a few of the most exciting fintech startups to watch in Canada right now:
Year founded: 2021
Initially positioned as the ‘Paypal for Africa,’ Vancouver-based startup Payday is now a bona fide contender in the field of neobanking. After a stint at Toronto’s Techstars Accelerator, the startup has refined its offering and narrowed its geographic scope. Now targeted at remote workers or freelancers out of Nigeria or Rwanda, Payday serves over 300,000 users and processes an average of 40,000 transactions per day.
The service allows users to create virtual bank accounts and withdraw money in their currency of choice. In addition to these accounts, Payday offers payment links, bill payments, and peer-to-peer money transfers. It’s the first of its kind when it comes to virtual banking in Africa, and Payday’s founders are no strangers to changing the game.
“We were the first startup to start issuing virtual accounts in Africa,” says Payday founder Favour Ori. “We’ve done this for over 20 months, so we know what works and understand our market and users.”
Investors agree. Payday recently received a $1.3M seed round led by Moniepoint. Having recently tripled its marketing spending and quadrupled revenue, the Payday team plans to use the investment to boost market share and eventually expand into the U.K.
Nyble is another Techstars alumni making waves in the fintech space. Targeted at workers with good income but limited credit, the Toronto-based Nyble provides its users with low cost emergency cash. For a $4.99 monthly fee, users can borrow amounts from $20-100 interest-free. Same-day transactions incur additional fees from $2.99 to $5.99, but users willing to wait three business days for funds can get transactions for free. The principal is repaid automatically on the borrower’s next pay date.
The approach is designed to help Canadians with ‘invisible credit’ avoid hefty overdraft fees and improve their spending habits. Nyble’s monthly fee comes with access to a financial coach, and the company’s algorithm looks at users’ previous financial data to create personalized recommendations for managing funds. Users are given points for following through on this advice.
Overall, the company hopes its offering will help meet the needs of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque. Founders are optimistic about Nyble, formerly known as Fincentify, and investors agree. Nyble closed an institutional seed funding round led by Lighter Capital and Celtic House Asia in February of 2023.
Toronto-based Uplinq is changing the way small business lenders see loans. Using the ‘credit assessment as a service’ model, Uplinq provides a global credit assessment and scoring platform for underwriting. Proprietary technology gives lenders information that allows them to approve or manage loans that might otherwise have been declined and incorporates factors like market, environment, or community data.
Uplinq’s platform has helped to underwrite over $1.4T in loans worldwide thus far. The startup is a finalist for the 2023 Banking Tech Awards USA, and its founders are optimistic about improving lending options for small businesses.
“Our breakthrough technology is moving the needle in how SMBs access working capital,” says CEO Rex Salixbury. “We look forward to what’s to come.”
Investors seem to feel the same, as the company secured a $600K investment from Cambrian Ventures this February. Prior to that, Uplinq raised $1.25M in a seed round with lead investor ATX Venture Partners. A spring 2022 pre-seed round of $3.5M included additional lead investors, Surface Ventures and N49P.
Halifax-based fintech Fractional Finance is looking to make investing in real estate easier. Fractional Finance reduces barriers to entry into the real estate market with a blockchain-powered fractional investing platform. To invest, users purchase tokens from the company. The tokens allow users to buy a stake in a property and give them some say in how the property is managed.
According to Fractional Finance’s founders, purchasing real estate helps it bring stability to blockchain-driven investment and protects it from recent cryptocurrency meltdowns. They’ve already raised $500k in funding from the St. Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre for the idea, which they say will give more young people a chance to invest.
Operating out of Toronto, fintech startup NetNow offers short-term lending integrated into a B2B payment platform. The platform allows businesses to collect money up-front, while its customers have the option to buy now, pay later.
Buy now, pay later sales have higher closing rates, and flexible payment terms build customer loyalty and trust. However, existing methods for businesses to access these terms are cumbersome and paperwork-heavy. NetNow co-founder Eli Costea discovered this firsthand when attempting to set up a supplier account for his parent’s business. This is when he and co-founder Nauman Haufeez set out to streamline the process.
After a residency with Antler and a pre-seed round with Antler and Day One Ventures, the company now has a viable product and plans to onboard its first customer. They’ve recently earned a place in the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator, which comes with additional funds. With the money, NetNow’s team plans to double down on customer discovery and ensure product market fit.