Although Canada does not receive the same kudos for innovation and technological development as the United States, it punches above its weight when it comes to emerging financial technology (fintech) companies. Here’s a look at five Canadian fintech companies that are making a name for themselves by providing innovative financial solutions for customers: Payfirma, Quandl, Mogo Finance Technology, Shopify and Vogogo.
Payfirma, founded by Michael Gokturk in 2010, is a Vancouver-based payment processing company with a vision for allowing customers to pay any way, anywhere and at any time. It helps businesses accept online credit and debit card payments for mobile, e-commerce and in-store locations under a single merchant account. Payfirma processes transactions on a cloud-based platform, allowing business analytics, such as sales data, to easily be retrieved. The company has won several awards and honors, including the ACT Canada Innovation Award in 2012, the CIX Top 20 Innovators of 2013, the BC Business Top Innovators in 2013, and DigiBC’s Top 25 Most Innovative Tech Companies in British Columbia in 2014. Payfirma received C$5 million in angel funding between 2011 and 2013. In 2015, Dundee Capital Markets, a subsidiary of Dundee Corporation (DDEJF), backed Payfirma with a C$13 million investment.
Toronto-based Quandl operates a platform for financial, economic and alternative data. Founded in 2012 by Abraham Thomas and Tammer Kamel, Quandl provides access to extensive financial, economic and social datasets from companies such as NASDAQ, Zacks Investment Research and Zillow Group Inc. (Z). Quandl permits data access via an application program interface (API), which allows customers to customize the information in a format that is suitable for their needs. Its customers include many of the largest hedge funds, banks and consulting firms in the United States. Quandl received C$1.3 million in seed funding in 2013. In 2015, August Capital invested C$5.4 million in the company, and in 2016, Nexus Venture Partners led a round of funding that raised another C$12 million.
Mogo Finance Technology Inc.
Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (MOGO), founded in 2003, operates an online lending platform aimed at providing millennials with a variety of credit solutions, such as short-term loans and prepaid credit cards. In 2018, the company released MogoCrypto for buying and selling Bitcoin cryptocurrency. As of September 2018, more than 700,000 people had signed up as Mogo users. Mogo is sometimes considered to be the Uber of finance, as it provides quick access to a competitively priced service and focuses on the user’s experience. Founders Greg and David Feller found inspiration to help young Canadians pay off debt at lower rates in their own experiences of struggling to pay down credit debt while in college. The Vancouver-based company made its debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in June 2015. Key investors include Difference Capital and Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG).
Shopify Inc. (SHOP) provides a cloud-based multichannel commerce platform for businesses of all sizes. Founded in Ottawa by Daniel Weinand, Scott Lake, and Tobias Lütke in June 2004, Shopify allows merchants to improve their overall customer experience by managing multiple sales channels, such as social media, web, and mobile. As of September 2018, the company had more than 600,000 customers in roughly 170 countries. Prominent customers include Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA); Budweiser, which is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (BUD); and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Shopify raised C$100 million in Series C funding in 2013 and went public in 2015.
Vogogo Inc. (VGO) has undergone some major changes since it was founded by Rodney Thompson and Geoff Gordon in 2008. The company first offered web-based business-to-business (B2B) risk management and payment solutions and began focusing on cryptocurrency in 2013. The company went public in 2014, and after failing to gain traction, suspended its operations in late 2016. Vogogo relaunched in April 2018 as a cryptocurrency miner and blockchain application development company after acquiring 14,000 mining machines and facilities in Québec. Cryptocurrency mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, or the block chain, and also the means through which new cryptocurrency is released.