This week on Finovate Global we’re taking a look at some recent fintech developments in Canada.
On the fundraising front, embedded wealth management platform OneVest announced a $3.9 million (CAD $5 million) seed funding round this week. The investment was led by Luge Capital and takes the Canadian fintech’s total funding to $5.5 million (CAD $7.1 million).
The funding will help OneVest, which was founded in 2021 and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, to grow its team, expand sales, and support product development. The company offers digital wealth management services that can be embedded into consumer-facing products via APIs. The technology integrates well with multiple fintechs and financial institutions, empowering them to combine wealth management and investment functionality into their own financial solutions.
“People are increasingly demanding a more seamless and simple experience where financial products are integrated into their everyday lives,” OneVest co-founder and CEO Amar Ahluwalia said. “Our mission is to make investing more accessible to everyone, and available anytime, anywhere and through any channel.”
The first company to take advantage of the new offering is Neo Financial, which leveraged OneVest’s platform to launch its new actively managed wealth platform, Neo Invest.
Square announced this week that it is bringing its financing solution to business borrowers in Canada. Square Loans leverages transaction data to create and bring customized offers to eligible sellers, giving them a straightforward, paperwork-free application process. Funds are available the next business day and businesses are charged a single, upfront loan fee that is paid back automatically as a set percentage of daily card sales with Square. This arrangement enables borrowers to make larger repayments when sales are strong and smaller repayments when sales are weaker.
“From our earliest days, Square has focused on building easy-to-use tools and services to empower entrepreneurs to succeed on their own terms,” Head of Square Alyssa Henry said. Since Square Loans launched in the U.S. and Australia, the company has provided more than $9 billion in financing to more than 460,000 businesses with an average loan size of $6,750.
For all the interest – an even enthusiasm in some quarters – over CBDCs, not everyone is on board. This week we learned that Pierre Poilievre, leadership candidate for Canada’s Conservative Party is not only unimpressed by the opportunities provided by CBDCs, he also wants to enact a ban on the technology.
But don’t mistake Poilievre for a Luddite. The man considers himself a blockchain backer and has, in fact, pledged to make Canada “the blockchain capital of the world.”
“A Poilievre government would welcome this new, decentralized, bottom-up economy and allow people to take control of their money from bankers and politicians,” the Conservative Party politician said in March. He added that an embrace of blockchain would “expand choice” and “lower the costs of financial products” as well as providing a wealth of tech-oriented jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Canada.
As such, Poilievre’s CBDC skepticism seems to be more related to his attitude toward central banks than his opinion on blockchain technology. He has promised that, in addition to a CBDC ban, he would support an audit of the central bank’s balance sheet – a common commitment from conservative politicians in the post-Global Financial Crisis era. This would include a review of the central bank’s bond buying program during the pandemic. Poilievre has blamed the central bank economic response to COVID for the country’s currently high inflation rate.
Both a Canadian CBDC and a Poilievre mandate are some ways away, if that. The Canadian central bank has been working on a CBDC for year, with the project still in development stage. Poilievre, while the front runner to become the leader of the opposition Conservative Party, would nevertheless have to wait until 2025 at the earliest to challenge Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
Central and Eastern Europe
Middle East and Northern Africa
Central and Southern Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean