FinTech Forum Prize Money Upped to $500,000 in Surprise Move


One of the most awaited sessions of the 2018 FinTech Forum in Montreal this week was the startup pitch competition.  More than $200,000 in prizes were up for grabs, including a $150,000 live offer to one of the lucky presenters from Luge Capital. Well surprise… the young VC was so impressed by the pitches in this truly global competition, they decided to award two prizes.  So, the winner of the first $150,00 investment was Symend, a platform to engage with and retain delinquent customers, designed for financial institutions or utilities. They estimate these companies have about 10% delinquent customers each month. Less than 90 days delinquent, see a 10% reduction in bad debt and costs, whereas for those who are delinquent over 90 days, they claim an incredible 60% increase in debt recovery.

However, the surprises didn’t stop there. One company so impressed during its presentation, Steve Abrams from BDC decided to match Luge Capital’s $150,000, investing a total of $300,000 in Lendified.  This is a lender that was founded about 4 years ago, they identified a need for working capital to be lent to SMEs in Canada. Through acquisition they help lenders adjudicate small business loans.  (They are about to rebrand as judi.ai)  They plan to use AI to help financial institutions address all their legacy systems, and offer a services that takes about 7 minutes for small business to apply for multiple financial products including leasing, term loans, lines of credit, credit cards and more.

“This is huge for us” said Monique Morden, the company’s CEO. “This investment will help us build out our team as we head into the US market in 2019”. The division of Lendified that operates this technology will be spun off and rebranded, and they plan to raise a round of about $4M to put into their war chest as the head south across the border.  Morden was impressed with how well attended this year’s event was, with something in the range of 2,600 delegates.

The $25,000 prize for startups with fewer than 10 employees was awarded to Owl, a “supercharged sales bot” for banks and insurers. For example, by just obtaining an email address from a user through the bot, they scrape the web and gather dozens of data points instantly. Using that data, they then build a profile for this individual on the spot, offering its clients (financial institutions) recommendations on what they can sell, or upsell these users.

The $25,000 prize for startups with more than 10 employees was also won by Symend.

And finally, the $15,000 people’s choice award offered by McKenzie Investments went to Nesto. They give home buyers instant access to more than 20 financial institutions when they are looking for a mortgage. Transparent, simple and quick… they claim to be Canada’s first digital mortgage application. Offering the best rates in real time from well known lenders. They also plan to offer users personalized rates on financial products, based on their online profile.

A panel of 6 judges reviewed the presentations, they are:

  • Peter Holt Dunn, Director, Holdun Family Office
  • Chris Betz, Executive Director, Technology Business Development & Innovation, Morgan Stanley
  • Sebastian Boisjoly, Vice-President, Venture Capital & Investment Funds, Investissement Québec
  • Laviva Mazhar, Investment Analyst, Luge Capital
  • Nancy McCuaig, Senior Vice-President, Chief Technology & Data Officer, IGM Financial
  • Stephanie Choo, Partner & Managing Director, Portag3 Ventures

After an exhaustive international search, 10 startups were selected to present. Here’s a brief summary of the rest:

  1. Senso, is a predictive consumer portfolio intelligence platform. It aggregates financial data from multiple sources and then uses predictive analytics to determine when a customer is about to make a change to one of their accounts. This allows financial institutions to reach out to these customers and engage with them before they interact with a competitor.
  2. CreditSCRIPT is a platform for investing in secured digital loans. They claim the global market for this is as much as $50B, and growing at 25% CAGR. They handle the AML and KYC, at which point the client then enters their marketplace. They see a marketplace of loans available for purchase and investment, in whole or in part. Offering superior returns, they are promising yields between 5% and 10%. Making the loans available in fractions reduces investor risk. Furthermore, they are not tied to traditional equity or debt markets.
  3. Cincy, a data collaboration company allowing people and organizations to collaborate on data in real time. Easy to connect to your data (Salesforce, Dynamics etc…), they claim it’s very easy to view and change data all across the user experience. All this while promising to keep data secure and protected. They strive to help enterprises to innovate faster, and for as little as half the cost.
  4. Goose Insurance, delivers insurance to buyers in 60 seconds. They say 75% of North Americans are underinsured. Therefore, they want to deliver consumer insurance quickly and easily on your smart phone. Focusing first on travel insurance in the B2C space, they plan to expand to expand into other insurance verticals as well. The premise is making the transaction easier will increase sales for the underwriting companies.
  5. Fligoo, a technology company that develops intelligent solutions based on proprietary algorithms and high-quality products, with emphasis on their speed, agility and intelligence. They work on a subscription model. The company classifies people in to 1,000 different categories, using all kinds of data including from Facebook, without your banking information.
  6. QuantCube Technologies, analyses both structured and unstructured data to predict everything from elections to the behaviour of financial markets. This includes multiple languages, tracking tanker traffic at sea, monitoring the physical construction of buildings and more, all designed to deliver information about economic growth in real time.

The Canada FinTech Forum continues through October 31, 2018 at the Palais des Congres.

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