On October 4, the second annual Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Award ceremony will take place at Platform Calgary. Launched last year in partnership between Platform Calgary and Digital Commerce Bank, the Award helps growing fintech startups – companies that incorporate technologies that automate, enhance and optimize how we transact and exchange value – elevate their business, make connection and scale their operations.
Jeff Smith, president and CEO of founding sponsor Digital Commerce Bank explains the purpose of the Award: “The Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Award embodies our belief in nurturing fintech disruptors. It’s not only about recognizing innovation, but also about providing a springboard for growth through mentorship and workshops. Beyond financial backing, this award empowers entrepreneurs with knowledge and resources, catalyzing their future impact. As the Canadian fintech industry matures, we’re proud to contribute to its evolution through initiatives like this.”
An initial batch of 150 applications were received from startups across Canada. A Top 25 cohort was selected in July and participated in an intensive six-week course of workshops, coaching and mentorship, to build connections with investors and industry experts to drive growth for their business.
In August, the Top 12 startups were announced. They have a focus on everything from revolutionizing the housing and renovation industry to streamlining credit applications and optimizing the capital raising process. The Top 3 startups will be announced at the award ceremony and will share the $300,000+ cash award.
“We have been thrilled to support Digital Commerce Bank’s dedication to grow Calgary as a fintech hub,” says Terry Rock, president and CEO at Platform Calgary. “Calgary’s economy has been built on local business leaders reinvesting in the community. Given our track record of economic success, Calgary has been a magnet for corporate headquarters and strategic investments for decades.”
“Applications were open to companies across the country to showcase Canada’s position as a global hub for fintech startups,” Rock continues. “The results in this space are already paying dividends in the local economy, and we are grateful to all of the support from industry, founders and all of the other community partners that have made this possible.”
Bidmii is a renovation marketplace that guarantees payment security for each party. Bidmii bridges the gap between homeowners and reliable contractors by offering a streamlined solution: homeowners can describe their projects and contractors can bid on them, with Bidmii holding the funds in trust.
“Bidmii began as a concept in May 2020,” says Jon Christensen, founder and CEO. “We worked diligently to develop our ideas and our Beta version went live in January 2021. After careful refinement and consideration of user feedback, we officially launched Bidmii in June 2021.”
A dedicated team of six employees, as well as several contracted individuals, contribute to the growth and success of the platform.
“As Bidmii continues to grow and make strides in the fintech landscape, the support and recognition from esteemed organizations like Platform Calgary, Digital Commerce Bank and the Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Award play a pivotal role in our success.”
Blossom Social Inc.
Blossom is a social app for investors with over 30,000 Canadians sharing their portfolios, trades and investing ideas in an inclusive and welcoming community. Blossom is working to become Canada’s first social brokerage, combining the app’s social features with a mobile-first investing platform.
“Investing is overwhelming,” says Maxwell Nicholson, founder and CEO. “It’s no surprise over 85 per cent of Canadians consider themselves financially illiterate when it comes to stocks and investing. Blossom is here to change that, with a social platform for investors from beginners to experts. We’ve created a community where Canadians can learn and grow their investing knowledge, supported by Duolingo-style investing education and powerful tools to analyze their portfolio.”
Blossom has been operating since May 2021 and has 12 full-time employees and two part-time contractors.
Credit App Technologies Inc.
Credit App is a B2B software platform that powers automotive finance. Its cloud based platform connects automotive dealerships and lenders across North America to power online and in-store financing for buyers.
“We are building a credit application platform to challenge the monopolistic industry that connects Canada’s 4,000 automotive dealerships with over 60 lenders and 2.4 million finance consumers annually,” explains Evan Ferguson, founder and CEO. “Our modern infrastructure drives operational efficiencies and powers omni-channel financing for Canada’s largest lenders.”
“We are thrilled to be recognized as a finalist in a competitive field. We are humbled by the caliber of the companies being founded in Calgary. The Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Award is bringing out the best businesses, with a meaningful prize, that will have a lasting impact on the Calgary start-up ecosystem.”
DealPoint provides a solution to the complex process of raising and managing private capital financings. It allows companies, venture funds, angel networks, investment dealers and securities lawyers to digitize investor onboarding and investment execution, bringing efficiency to the complicated, paper-based process of fund raising.
“DealPoint’s user-friendly online onboarding workflow makes the investment process simple,” explains Sandi Gilbert, co-founder. “Investors access deal flow on the go, executing investments from anywhere, at any time, without touching paper and stakeholders monitor the status of the capital raise, approve and close efficiently.”
“We have quietly been building a great company here in Calgary and we feel like this is our “coming out” party. Having just surpassed $550 million in transactions we are feeling the momentum, so it is fantastic to get recognition in our hometown.”
Elev is solving the student housing crisis happening across Canada and around the world by streamlining the off-campus living experience for students and landlords. Students can book a viewing, sign their lease and pay their rent through the platform. From screening potential candidates to managing rent payments, landlords can rely on Elev to host the best tenants.
“The support from organizations such as Platform Calgary, Digital Commerce Bank and the Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Award not only validates our vision to build the student living ecosystem of tomorrow, but it also empowers us to efficiently scale and expedite our business growth,” says Jean Bruce Koua, co-founder and COO. “This amplifies our standing within the fintech landscape, while significantly benefiting both students and landlords impacted by this housing crisis.”
Expedier is the first Black-lead BIPOC focused digital bank in Canada. It caters to the over eight million underbanked/underserved Canadian BIPOC community grappling with foreign banking systems, hindering their path to a better life.
“Our digital banking solution provides tailored services, intentionally designed to address the unique needs and pain-points of the Canadian BIPOC community,” says Kingsley Madu, founder and CEO. “Our product or service not only addresses critical challenges but also prioritizes creating a positive community impact. In addressing the needs of underbanked immigrants struggling with foreign banking systems, we not only enhance financial access but also contribute to their overall wellbeing, supporting their journey towards a better and improved life.”
“Canada possesses the potential to birth the next Unicorn in the banking industry. Canada’s richness in diversify uniquely positions it to foster solutions that resonate globally while being developed and nurtured locally.”
LenderBidding is Canada’s only mortgage auction platform, allowing 53 of the largest, licensed private lenders across Canada to bid on client’s mortgages. This encourages competition, ensuring optimal rates for borrowers and expanded deal access for lenders.
“LenderBidding is disrupting the $74 billion private mortgage market in Canada,” says Jason Geall, CEO and co-founder. “Private mortgages have exploded in the last three years, as it becomes harder and harder for Canadians to qualify for traditional bank mortgages. We also offer a B2B service where we proudly partner with credit union rejected customers to help get them back and approved with the credit union after a temporary private mortgage to fix their financial issues.”
LenderBidding has over $16 billion in available capital via its lenders on the platform. Customers enjoy lower rates, lower fees and the confidence in knowing they are borrowing from reputable lenders.
Padder is on a mission to revolutionize the rental experience. The platform allows landlords to manage and grow their real estate portfolios while tenants build their credit; Padder is making renting better for everyone.
“We use technology to make renting more achievable and rewarding for everyone involved,” explains Clare Lam, co-founder. “We have pledged one per cent of all revenues towards fighting the housing crisis here in Canada.”
In operation for 12 months and with nine employees, Lam is grateful for the support of the tech community in Canada.
“Platform Calgary, DC Bank and the Digital Commerce Calgary Fintech Awards give us the opportunity to connect with other founders, domain experts and resources that allow us to build groundbreaking technology,” she says. “We are lucky to be building Padder in Canada. We feel like it breeds an underdog attitude, leading Canada to become a global leader in technology.”
Periculum is a Calgary-based, African-focused artificial intelligence and machine learning company that builds data analytic software solutions to help African organizations make better decisions.
“We are solving access to credit for immigrants and newcomers to Canada by augmenting banks’ current credit assessment processes with our AI and ML data analytic software,” explains Michael Collins, founder and CEO. “This will help them expand their services to people with and without credit histories.”
Periculum’s software solutions empower financial institutions to assess the creditworthiness of immigrants, newcomers and international students. This is good for the banks as they can now tap into a growing under-tapped socioeconomic class. This is good for immigrants, newcomers and international students as it allows them to integrate seamlessly into their new home.
“And it is good for the country as it gets these newcomers participating economically as they unleash their immense spending power,” Collins adds.
Propra is revolutionizing the property management industry by building an autonomous, all-in-one property management software. The technology can take care of administrative tasks and financials freeing property owners to focus on the growth of their business.
“The software goes beyond streamlining and simplifying tasks,” explains Al-Karim Khimji, CEO and co-founder. “As a property management software, we aim to leverage the platform as a mechanism to create a positive impact on the communities that we serve. We see an opportunity to engage with affordable housing organizations to make the work easier, introducing simple credit building mechanisms, learning about how we can support easier ESG reporting, and generally contributing to the creation of safe spaces for people to live and thrive.”
“Calgary is a hub of amazing start up activity,” Khimji continues. “As long-time Calgarians, it’s exciting to contribute to the city’s growth by nurturing home-grown innovation.”
Quickly Technologies Inc.
Quickly is an “Earned Revenue Access” technology that lets small and medium businesses take control of their working capital by solving credit terms and getting them paid for their verified invoices within one business day.
“Quickly is revolutionizing business payment terms with its advanced early payment software tailored for supply chains, empowering North American SMBs to receive payments on their own terms,” says Kyle Friedman, founder and CEO. “Benefitting from Calgary’s wealth of top-tier talent and robust banking resources, our small yet agile team has achieved remarkable feats and forged a pivotal partnership with ATB, underscoring our capacity for impactful innovation.”
The company has been in operation for over two years, and has a dedicated team of six skilled professionals.
Yield Exchange addresses inefficiencies in the wholesale GIC market that cause significant delays in the treasury management process. The platform revolutionizes wholesale deposits with a frictionless GIC marketplace, providing speed, transparency and access to competitive rates.
With over 20 Canadian financial institutions on the platform, Yield Exchange has facilitated over $250 million in posted GIC requests.
“Building a company that creates positive community impact is at the core of our mission,” says Yvette Wu, co-founder and CEO. “Yield Exchange works with a variety of depositors including municipalities, non-profit organizations and First Nations groups, helping them make the most informed decision so that they can truly maximize their ROI without additional risk.” This is achieved by providing equal access to competitive rates and investment opportunities.