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Fintech Investor Interview: Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner, Roar VC

Roar Ventures | Peggy Van De Plassche | June 28, 2019

roar ventures - Fintech Investor Interview:  Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner, Roar VCIntro:  NCFA Fintech Confidential spoke with some of Canada’s experienced fintech investors, on their background, how Canada has evolved, what we should be doing, advice to fintech founders and what keeps them awake at night.  This is part 2 of a 4 part series.


What is your background, and how did you come to found Roar Ventures?

Peggy:  I studied in Finance in France, graduating in 2001. Not the best year to join the VC world 🙂 I worked in finance for a credit union, then joined a PE-back firm, managing amongst other things their value creation program, which I absolutely loved! Then I moved to Montreal and shortly after joined CGI, this is where I learnt my software. It was a new group aiming at allocating capital among the different LPs that have been acquired through multiple acquisitions. We had solutions mainly in the US and Canada with the biggest sectors being Financial services and Government. It was awesome! I really loved the organization, my boss, my colleagues, the role, simply amazing.

I moved to Toronto & joined BMO. Also, great learning opportunities, my boss, Joanna Rotenberg, was a fantastic role model. I was also allocating capital to tech projects. My goal was always to go to VC/PE and I was building my skill set and network. We were hearing more about Fintech in the US & in the UK and I thought that it was where I wanted to go and be early on the trend that I saw as disruptive. I joined a wealthy software entrepreneur to start Fintech companies for him and also invest in the space. It was a wild ride, definitely invaluable learnings and a great way to reposition my career.

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Being early in Canada on the trend I advised large organizations with their digital banking strategies. I ended up joining CIBC as VP, Innovation. Great opportunity to cement my network and understand the challenges and opportunities large FIs have. After CIBC, I advised Portag3 VC for ~1 year and decided to launch Roar VC following the announcement of the VCCI. I applied, interviewed ... and was not selected for funding! The whole process went from February to November, during this time I lined up investors but when the allocation didn’t come through the dominos fell on the wrong side and was back at the drawing board. It was a great opportunity to rethink my thesis, especially in fintech, as many funds had launched in one year in Canada.

I took some time to reassess my best options and decided to any entrepreneur would do when getting a curve ball. I am now working with a business partner who is also a dear friend, focusing on later stage opportunities through an independent sponsor model and I am still doing angel investments in the early stage Fintech space and get involved with the companies I invested in.


How have you seen the Canadian fintech ecosystem change in the past 5 years? How has the Canadian fintech ecosystem evolved?

Peggy:  Overall our Fintech entrepreneurs are getting more savvy:

  • More and more entrepreneurs are starting their go-to-market (GTM) strategy with selling in the US or the UK which I believe is a winning strategy.
  • B2C in financial services in Canada being extremely difficult, many fintechs pivoted to B2B as their main source of revenues and growth.
  • Entrepreneurs are taking more US money as more US investors are coming north to find great entrepreneurs at good valuations.
  • Many startups entrepreneurs got burned badly through banks partnerships and are approaching these opportunities with more circumspection.

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How can we strengthen and grow the Canadian fintech ecosystem?

Peggy:  To strengthen the ecosystem we need to have more Fintechs scaling, creating growth along the way and successful employees who will themselves start Fintech companies.  Meaning, we need more sales!  Sales and marketing are usually where we are falling short versus US companies both in terms of expertise and in terms of use of proceeds.  Focusing more on GTM and growing the top line is primordial to have Canadian champions.  US allocates a way higher use of proceeds to sales and marketing both in percentage and value.  Oftentimes that S&M expertise is not available in Canada and should be brought from the US.

What advise would you give to Canadian fintechs competing globally?

Peggy:  Focus on your sales and GTM strategy early.  CEO’s should not delegate the sales process prior to $1m ARR.  Sell in the US very early on, have a multi-layer sales strategy: small deals, medium deals and large deals to manage sales cycle and cash flow.  Get these clients logos as soon as you can on your pitch deck :-)…In 3 words: sell, sell, sell!


What keeps you awake at night?

Peggy:  My cat!  Ethics in Fintech, with the progress of AI I am worried that we will exclude a part of the population by pricing them out of the market.  Lending and insurance are areas where things can degenerate very quickly.  FMP, expansion of financial exclusion versus financial inclusion is real, especially as there is no global or even national framework.  Dying from a thousand cuts...

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Peggy:  Think Global!!   Canada is amazing...and the world is a big place where we have what it takes to thrive.

We need these Canadian champions!!


Peggy VanDePlassche photo - Fintech Investor Interview:  Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner, Roar VCPeggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner, Roar VC (LinkedIn)

Peggy Van De Plassche is an experienced technology, operations, strategy and finance executive with expertise in new venture development, business management and restructuring, investment management, strategic planning and financial analysis.  A finance professional by trade, Peggy started working in technology 15 years ago, before fintech was a word. She is a founding partner at Roar VC, which invests in Canadian Data AI startups catering to the financial services industry. Prior to launching Roar VC, she was senior advisor at Portag3 Ventures as well as VP Innovation at CIBC. Peggy has also worked at CGI and BMO, founded 113 Ventures, invested in tech companies, and consulted for large organizations and startups.


More Canadian Fintech Investor Interviews in this 4 part series:

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Investor Interview:  Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner, Roar VC The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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