Canadian fintechs shine as investments near record

Wed Jan 4, 2017 6:11am EST
 
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Venture capital-backed investment in Canadian financial technology companies hit its highest level in almost two decades last year, even as the flow of funds into major fintech markets like the United States declined, according to sector data.

Fintechs, or companies that use innovative technology to revamp everything from banking to fraud security, globally draw billions in investment annually.

In Canada, fintech is revitalizing the startup scene and has attracted a new crop of Canadian venture capital funds looking to invest specifically in young fintech companies.

According to PitchBook, used by the U.S.-based National Venture Capital Association, venture capital financing in Canadian fintech was $137.7 million in 2016, up more than 35 percent on the year. Five years ago, it was $21.8 million and in 2000 it was $7.3 million.

Figures compiled by Thomson Reuters show a rise of nearly 74 percent from 2015 to 2016, to C$264.8 million ($197.41 million), its highest level since 2000, when venture capital investment in Canadian financial technology firms reached C$317.9 million.

The data vary as some investors do not disclose full information, while methodologies can differ on how the information is collected, how many companies are tracked, what is considered fintech and what constitutes a venture deal.

The figures pale in comparison to the United States, where investments reached $4.27 billion in 2016. But the trend in Canada is on the rise, compared with a decline in the U.S. and Britain.

Investments declined at least 30 percent in the U.S. in 2016, while in the UK they fell nearly 25 percent and Singaporean fintech investment sank 65 percent.   Continued...

 
Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc logo is shown on a computer screen in the illustration photo in Encinitas, California May 3, 2016.      REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo