While Canada doesn’t get the same credit for innovation and technological development as the United States, it stands above its weight when it comes to emerging financial technology (fintech) companies. Here’s a look at five Canadian fintech companies that are making a name for themselves by providing innovative financial solutions for customers: Payfirma, Quandl, Mogo, Shopify and Cryptologic.
Founded by Michael Gokturk in 2010, Payfirma is a Vancouver-based payment processing company with a vision to let customers pay anytime, anywhere. It helps businesses accept online credit and debit card payments for mobile, e-commerce and in-store locations under one merchant account.
Payfirm processes transactions on a cloud-based platform, making it easy to retrieve business analytics, such as sales data. The company has won several awards and accolades, including the ACT Canada Innovation Award in 2012, the CIX Top 20 Innovators of 2013, the BC Business Top Innovators in 2013, DigiBC’s Top 25 Most Innovative Tech Companies in British Columbia in 2014, and the Fintech Company of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Fintech Awards.
Payfirma received C$5.5 million in angel funding between 2011 and 2013. In 2015, Dundee Capital Markets, a division of Dundee Securities, Ltd., supported Payfirma with an investment of C$13 million.
Toronto-based Quandl operates a financial, economic and alternative data platform. Founded in 2012 by Abraham Thomas and Tammer Kamel, Quandl provides access to comprehensive financial, economic and social datasets from companies such as NASDAQ, Zacks Investment Research and Zillow Group Inc. (Z). Quandl enables access to data through an application programming interface (API), which allows customers to customize the information in a format suitable for their needs. Its clients include many of the largest hedge funds, banks and consultancies in the United States. In 2015, August Capital C invested $5.4 million in the company and in 2016 Nexus Venture Partners led a round of financing that brought in another C$12 million.
Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (MOGO), founded in 2003, operates an online lending platform intended to provide millennials with a variety of credit solutions, such as short-term loans and prepaid credit cards. In 2018, the company released MogoCrypto for buying and selling Bitcoin cryptocurrency. As of July 2021, more than 1.6 million people had signed up as Mogo users. Mogo is sometimes considered the Uber of finance as it offers quick access to a discounted service and focuses on the user experience. Founders Greg and David Feller found inspiration to help young Canadians pay off their debt at lower rates from their own experiences paying off credit debt while in college. The Vancouver-based company made its debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in June 2015. A major investor is Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG).
Shopify Inc. (SHOP) provides a cloud-based multichannel commerce platform for businesses of all sizes. Founded in Ottawa by Daniel Weinand, Scott Lake, and Tobias Lütke in 2004, Shopify empowers merchants to improve their overall customer experience by managing multiple sales channels such as social media, web, and mobile. As of April 2021, the company had more than 1.7 million customers in approximately 175 countries. Prominent clients include Heinz (KHC); Budweiser which is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (BUD); and Mondelez International. Shopify raised C$100 million in Series C funding in 2013 and went public in 2015.
Vogogo Inc. has gone through some major changes since its founding by Rodney Thompson and Geoff Gordon in 2008. The company first offered web-based business-to-business (B2B) risk management and payment solutions and started focusing on cryptocurrency in 2013. The company went public in 2012, and after failing to gain traction, it suspended operations in late 2016. Vogogo was relaunched in April 2018 as a cryptocurrency miner and blockchain application development company after acquiring 14,000 mining machines and facilities in Québec. Cryptocurrency mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the ledger or blockchain, and also the means by which new cryptocurrency is released.