Toronto opens fintech cluster

Toronto opens fintech cluster

Toronto is the latest city hoping to become a major fintech hub, opening a dedicated cluster designed to help connect established technology and banking leaders with startups.

The new fintech cluster is based at the Mars Discovery District innovation hub in downtown Toronto and will be led by Adam Nanjee, previously VP of business development in emerging payments at MasterCard Canada.

The venture is promising to help startups working on ares such as payments, alternative lending and cryptocurrencies get access to investment, product feedback, sales opportunities, and business advisory from industry experts.

Fintech had a banner year in 2014, with firms around the world raising $6.8 billion in funding, a three-fold increase on the previous 12 months, and ther sector seeing its first IPOs and welcoming a host of startups to the billion dollar club.

London and New York have been jostling to become fintech's global centre but several other cities, including Berlin, Hong Kong, Sydney and, now, Toronto are also making concerted efforts to build up hubs that can support firms hoping to take advantage of the digital revolution to transform financial services.

PayPal, Moneris and mobile wallet outfit Ugo have signed up to support the new Toronto cluster. Alexander Peh, head, market development and mobile, PayPal Canada, says: "By hosting our global BattleHack competition and facilitating meetups at MaRS, we want to build a vibrant community of world-class technology innovators in Canada."

Meanwhile, the cluster plans to become Canada's cryptocurrency hub, striking a deal with Decentral Toronto to start hosting the country's largest bitcoin meetup and inviting local startup Cryptiv to move into the Mars centre.

Salim Teja, EVP, ventures, Mars, says: "This collaboration will provide the region’s best tech entrepreneurs with the opportunity to engage directly with important financial services companies."

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