Global fintech and funding innovation ecosystem

Fintech in Atlantic Canada

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Fintech Confidential Issue 3 | Maria Pacurar & Alicia Roisman Ismach | Dec 29, 2020

Fintech in Atlantic Canada - Fintech in Atlantic Canada

The history of the financial services industry in Atlantic Canada goes back to the early 1800s with the establishment in 1820 of the first chartered bank in Canada, the Bank of New Brunswick, later followed by the founding in Halifax of two of present Canada's largest banks: Bank of Nova Scotia (1832) and Royal Bank of Canada (1864).

Today, Atlantic Canada is witnessing the emergence of a unique fintech ecosystem, powered by key communication infrastructure and deep expertise in back-office operations. Venn Innovation has identified over 100 financial technology startups, with products ranging from cybersecurity, blockchain, and machine learning to robotics process automation, AI and data analytics, that are bringing new life into the region while serving clients around the world. Atlantic Canada has been known for its quality of life and cost-competitive business environment, but now, during this global pandemic, the region has proven to be one of the safest places in the world, adding to these advantages the fast economic recovery of its companies.

See:  Fintech Acquisitions Show Sector Strength Despite Covid-19

Atlantic Canada has strengths that are clearly complementary to the financial industry and can support the growth of this high impact sector with intentional effort and focus, gaining a share of this growing global industry. In NB alone, back office operations of financial institutions, insurance companies and communications, employ some 18,000 people, representing $1.5B for the economy.

How we identify Fintech companies?

evaluate fintech companies - Fintech in Atlantic Canada

The fintech sector in Atlantic Canada includes, for example, leaders like Verafin, which launched in 2003 and raised $515 million in 2019, the largest tech funding deal ever in Canada, and emerging companies like ProcedureFlow, Oliver POS (which recently secured a seed financing round from European investors), and SnapAP, which recently partnered with Oracle and Sage.

Fintech companies in our region have unique characteristics that largely contribute to the competitiveness of the region: as the investment environment is different from places like Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv, these companies often do more with less; they tend to be very lean, have a resourceful team, be real-world problem-solving focused and, as a result, provide more customer-oriented value propositions. On the other hand, it is exciting to notice that we have a lot in common with many of the world's top fintech ecosystems. Compared to places like Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv and others, we have comparable technology, and a focus on non-local markets. The high-impact meetings with industry leaders and the warm reception our Atlantic Canada delegation was so fortunate to enjoy at Money2020 last year are clear testimony to our international attractiveness.

It's been exciting to see the evolution of these companies since then, including the meaningful progress of solutions like Black Arcs, which can simplify complex decision-making through its analytics platform for an array of customers, and Four Eyes Financial, which offers financial compliance software from the institutional level to end-users.

Of course, we have to focus on the next generation. Given the strong pool of talent in an array of functional areas coupled with a considerable influx of highly educated immigrants, excellent quality of life, affordable cost of living, natural beauty and, of course, the growing tech ecosystem, there is no doubt that Atlantic Canada will see an increased international appeal. But what about the future? Where and how are we getting our next generation of talent?

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The region’s 16 universities graduating nearly 18,500 degree holders annually and performing nearly 60% of the region’s R&D (more than $200 million annually) are an important driver in this innovation ecosystem. This fall, both the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University and Venn Innovation partnered with Coopérathon, the largest Open Innovation challenge in Canada. Run digitally for the first time because of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, this initiative now counts participants from coast to coast.

It is also encouraging to note that Dalhousie University started offering the only university fintech course in the region last year. The course focuses on understanding the landscape in which fintech companies emerge, grow and compete, and gaining practical experience by interacting with fintech companies and entrepreneurs from the region. Dr. Maria Pacurar works with undergraduate students from across the university to inspire the next generation of fintech leaders. She has also been collaborating with Alicia Roisman Ismach, of Venn Innovation and Atlantic Fintech. Their dream: build the next Singapore or Tel Aviv, but right here in Canada—on the East Coast.

Fintech Confidential issue 3 cover 1 - Fintech in Atlantic Canada

This article appears as a featured article in NCFA's digital magazine, Fintech Confidential (Issue 3 Dec 2020). Click to read the latest thought leadership, insights and trends about Fintech in Canada:

Checkout NCFA's digital magazine, Fintech Confidential (Issue 3, Dec 2020) --> here


share save 171 16 - Fintech in Atlantic Canada

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