Fintech Investor Interview: Rob Antoniades, General Partner of Information Venture Partners

Information Venture Partners | Rob Antoniades | August 1, 2019

Information Venture Partners - Fintech Investor Interview:  Rob Antoniades, General Partner of Information Venture PartnersIntro: 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 4 of a 4 part series.

 

What is your background, and why did you start Information Venture Partners?

I have operated VC groups or offices for several banks including CIBC, BMO and then RBC.  My finance experience prior to running these VC operations, was heavily influenced by my time in equity capital markets and included equity research, sales and trading, investment and merchant banking.  These experiences have helped me tremendously as a Fintech investor.  I have lived some of the challenges that we are trying to solve. I co-founded (with David Unsworth) Information Venture Partners to fill a void in the market to fund companies developing technologies relevant for financial services.

 

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

The Canadian Fintech ecosystem has changed tremendously over the past 5 years, for the better.  We are still transitioning as an industry, from very early stage, mostly first-time entrepreneurs 5 years ago or prior, to a more mature ecosystem with companies now generating 8 figures of revenue, some repeat entrepreneurs, and yet still a vibrant start-up ecosystem.

 

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How can we strengthen and grow the Canadian fintech ecosystem?

The easiest way to build the ecosystem is to concentrate our efforts, of the industry (broadly defined), to supporting domestic Fintechs.  For example, our financial institutions spend billions on information technology and if concentrated on Canadian companies, would accelerate the development of the Canadian Fintech community.  Clearly, there would be no expectation that these institutions support disruptive and disintermediating Fintechs.

 

What advise would you give to Canadian fintechs competing globally?

Canadian Fintech companies need to understand that they can start in Canada, and if they have traction here, this momentum can be leveraged with FIs globally.  Our financial system and institutions are highly regarded globally. We can leverage that advantage.

However, in the absence of such a beachhead, there are thousands of customer opportunities around the world.  If your solution addresses a common pain point, you can just as easily build a company with lead customers from virtually any part of the world.  The entrepreneurs need to have that global mindset.

 

What keeps you awake at night?

Insomnia, joint pains and the recurring thought that we, as a nation, have not developed a unified strategy to develop our nation as a leading fintech hub, in the global context.

We as cities or regions, have generally not rallied around local champions, and we as a nation have not developed a coherent strategy.  Can it be done without a strategy? Absolutely, but it would be exponentially more powerful, quicker, and likely successful, if we had the financial and moral support of the ecosystem including all levels of government, industry, capital providers, advisors and entrepreneurs.

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This strategy would build on local strengths, be minimally competitive between the centres, and not too difficult to execute if we had a champion, with capital and a willingness to make a few mistakes in order to accelerate the advancement of the cause.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

There has never been a better time to be a Fintech entrepreneur in Canada, at least not in the 20+ years that I have been involved in the sector.

 

Rob Antoniades - Fintech Investor Interview:  Rob Antoniades, General Partner of Information Venture PartnersRobert Antoniades, General Partner and Co-Founder, Information Venture Partners

Robert Antoniades co-founded Information Venture Partners in 2014 with Dave Unsworth to work with startups in the field he knows best: financial services. Robert is interested in finding the disruptive ideas and entrepreneurs that believe new or better information is foundational to businesses. He believes that financial institutions need technology to service their customers, reduce cost and compete. Some of his main areas of interest include SaaS, next generation analytics including artificial intelligence and machine learning, capital markets, banking, wealth management and insurance technology.

More Canadian Fintech Investor Interviews in this 4 part series:

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Investor Interview:  Rob Antoniades, General Partner of Information Venture Partners 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: www.ncfacanada.org

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