Whether or not you believe Toronto Life’s assertion that “Toronto is the new Silicon Valley”, you have to admit that the city has done well for itself in the information tech and financial sectors. It seems like every day a new startup pops up, offering a fresh take on financial tech services, which, given the industry’s penchant for abbreviation, is usually shortened to “fintech”.
A generation of industry disruptors, “Innovation Alchemists” and “Chief Vision Officers” is poised to dominate the global financial narrative, as fintechs raised $8 billion this year, getting the attention of just about every major financial institution. And Toronto is a hotbed for fintech activity, containing what is – according to Invest in Ontario – one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems.
What’s good for the startup industry is good for the city, so we’re going to highlight the successes of four Toronto fintech startups that have made a giant splash recently.
This Toronto fintech startup, which you may have seen advertised around town, has a shrewd understanding of what it takes to be a financial advisor in the millennial age. You have to, as their name explicitly states, make wealth simple.
And that’s what they did, offering simple, straightforward investment management with a lower barrier to entry for investors. A millennial investor, for instance, who wants to get into the market, but doesn’t have the money for traditional account minimums can go through Wealthsimple and know their investments are being cared for. Also, in a move that shows their intimate understanding of millennial investors, Wealthsimple recently rolled out “socially responsible investment funds”.
With $5 billion in assets under management, up from just $750 million in 2017, Wealthsimple is expanding at a breakneck pace. And with a brand new ETF trading app launched this year, expect them to only get bigger.
Guaraná Technologies, a top app developer in Toronto with additional offices in Montreal, specializes in Android, iPhone, and web app development that makes the entire design process seamless and efficient, with as few iterations as possible.
Focused on app development solutions for startups and mid-sized fintech companies, they pride themselves on limiting project bloat and delivering sleek, seamless solutions.
Unlike most app developers, they truly listen to their clients, helping them overcome real challenges that their businesses are facing. Guaraná turns app development into a co-creative, collaborative problem-solving experience.
This lean design development model makes them different from other app developers, as they jump directly into the core of the project. They believe in a democratic development model, which means that they become partners rather than simply providers, making sure that your vision is never compromised. This design philosophy was a large part of why they were named 2018’s Top Application Development Agency in Canada by both CrowdReviews and Clutch.co.
You couldn’t turn on a TV last year without hearing some mention of Cryptocurrency. It was either touted as a precarious, black market investment, liable to collapse at any moment, or the reinvention of the wheel. What it wasn’t, however, was well understood.
That’s where a startup like Coinsmart saw an opening: take the cryptic out of Cryptocurrency. Coinsmart offers an easy, expedient and understandable way to buy Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Litecoin. They make it easy to track, easy to convert into CAD, and they offer the level of security and transparency that the “Wild West” Crypto exchanges like Mt. Gox can’t.
The startup is expanding, and provided that Cryptocurrencies also continue to expand, the company should continue its successful streak.
Specializing in what they call “financial, economic and alternative data”, Quandl caters its niche product to hedge fund analysts, asset managers and banks. Essentially, they offer market insights in the form of data – lots and lots of data. Funnelling millions of datasets, both traditional and non-traditional, into an actionable product that investors can use, Quandl has understandably blown up in the past few years.
With 400,000 users worldwide, $17.4 million of funding (as of last year) and a recent acquisition from Nasdaq, Quandl is one of Toronto fintech startups’ premier success stories.
There are literally thousands of other Toronto fintech startups to learn about, but these three rise above the rest in terms of influence and prospects. No, Toronto may never be the new Silicon Valley, but let’s settle for being a vibrant city filled with innovative thinkers.
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