Holt Accelerator unveils 2020 fintech cohort


Montreal’s Holt accelerator program is revealing the eight fintech startups in its 2020 cohort. The selected companies came from as far as Brazil, Israel and England. Two of eight are Canadian-based while another is Canadian-cofounded.

According to Holt, more than 700 startups applied from 87 countries. The 2020 cohort will be online, starting on July 27.

“In response to the impacts of Covid-19, we felt that adoption of fintech solutions needed to accelerate more than ever and adjusted our focus accordingly” said managing partner Jan Christopher Arp. “We received a record number of applications and a significant increase in engagement from our advisors during the selection process. This enabled us to identify the startups best positioned to provide direct benefits Canadian consumers and financial institutions, while also making Canada more competitive globally.”

Holt calls itself Canada’s only business accelerator devoted exclusively to all Fintech verticals.

This year, the program pivoted due to the pandemic, focusing on four verticals:

• Cybersecurity; Increase in fraudulent activity under Covid-19 requires new methods to mitigate cyber threats.
• Insurtech; Given premiums are now expected to face downward pressures, opportunities to reduce costs, or increase revenues for insurers are more welcome than ever.
• Property tech; pent up supply and low mortgage rates are resulting in pressure to create new opportunities in distributing loans or securitize equity.
• Trade Finance; geared towards major economic and socio-political fields like agtech and energy financing opportunities.

Here’s the eight startups:

1. Brazil’s Agryo is an agtech which connects lenders to farmers by combining data and AI modelling to bring better financial services to millions of underserved farming families globally. Its risk intelligence tools provide analysis before, during and after any transaction related to crop contracts dating back 20 years. They provide risk intelligence as service (RasS) to banks, insurers and Ag-coops.

2. Swiss-based company Fidectus allows energy traders to manage the high pressures of managing costs, cash limits and risks by automating and accelerating the settlement process in cross-company workflows.

3. Straight out of London, Naoris helps financial service companies future proof their systems and data the way governments and militaries approach cybersecurity and threat detection. In seconds, the platform is able to detect any security breach, which can take competitors as much as 4 months to accomplish.

4. From Calgary, Ownest Financial has partnered with 125 Canadian lenders to make shopping for a mortgage, car financing or other loans as easy as ordering dinner. Clients need 70% less paperwork while partners gain transparency and cut out 90% of their internal processing time.

5. Relativity6 is a Boston fintech helping insurers sift through the massive amounts of data they hold to identify and retain profitable customers, cross-sell and up-sell at the right time. Founded at MIT, this AI platform can predict future customer behavior and maximize lifetime value.

6. Sentro is led by a Canadian ex-pat in New Zealand, helping group insurers grow their business efficiently by connecting their customers, partners and systems. Part of the Microsoft for Startups program, they help their clients give group customers the customized product and service experience they expect, without the administrative complexity in the back office.

7. Israel-based SolidBlock addresses a serious lack of liquidity in real estate. Tokenization of such assets, smart contracts with built in regulation & legal structuring and a blockchain based, tradable asset infrastructure.

8. And finally Nova Scotia’s Talem Health Analytics offers a predictive AI injury causation tool which examines car crash data for severity, diagnosis confirmation, occupant motion, and recovery trajectory. This helps insurers streamline recovery and cut down on billions in fraud each year.

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