Seed rounds can prove pivotal milestones for startups. Until that first rush of capital, startups are typically bootstrapped, often operating lean on shoestring budgets with a short runway leading to a steep cliff.
Lack of financial and related support—such as the wisdom and expertise good investors can supply—marks a big reason why the vast majority of new businesses fail within a year or two.
It takes an ecosystem to launch a startup.
Recognizing this, Fintech.ca took a look at some recent seed rounds in the Canadian financial technology scene and what each funding influx meant for the startups.
Edmonton’s Truffle offers a digital restaurant platform that equips food providers to add delivery and pick-up services without adding staff.
Founded by Omer Choudhary, Truffle is using the funding to hire key management positions and further expand sales and marketing across Canada and into the US.
Launched during the pandemic, Truffle has onboarded 500-plus customers across Canada, from multi-unit enterprises to small local favourites.
Payments platform Mash announced a seed funding round in June. The USD$6 million financing was co-led by Castle Island Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners.
The Toronto-born startup aims to remonetize the internet by enabling builders, creators, and developers to implement new business models to generate revenue for the experiences they deliver—and by extension providing consumers with a digitally native wallet to use everywhere.
“There’s an explosion in the number of people who want to be full-time creators and builders,” said Jared Nusinoff, founder and CEO of Mash. “But to go full time, they need an easy way to actually monetize the value they deliver.”
Mash was founded in 2021 and since then has established “a world-class engineering and design team with top tier startup and big tech experience” at companies such as Google, Amazon, and Fitbit. The company noted the funds will be used to build out and commercialize its Bitcoin and Lightning Network payments platform as well as grow its team across engineering, marketing, sales, and business development.
Toronto-born financial technology startup Qui Identity has officially emerged from stealth following a seed round. The $6.5 million in seed funding was led by Round13 Digital Asset Fund, with participation from Wittington Ventures, OMERS Ventures, and private investors.
Qui Identity was founded by Kirk Simpson, co-founder of Wave, and Peter Carrescia, formerly senior Vice President of Strategy at Wave. Qui wants to reinvent how trusted interactions take place for each of us.
Based on decentralized identity standards, the startup is building infrastructure to allow individuals and companies to instantly exchange verified identity information. “User-controlled decentralized identity is the basis of the important next step forward in how people manage, share, and control their identity,” Simpson affirms.
Qui is using seed funding to expand its global team, including technologists with expertise in decentralized identity, web3 and mobile.
SureBright in August secured a USD$2.5 million pre-seed round. The insurance technology startup raised the capital from Motivate Ventures, with participation from Panache Ventures, InsurTech Fund NYC, and other investors.
SureBright offers an Insurance-as-a-Service platform that enables any company to embed insurance and warranty products on their website. The startup was born out of Toronto late last year and has already embedded its app with several Shopify merchants.
The 16-strong team is primarily comprised of engineers—the idea of selling is only just coming into play. Some of the seed funding is earmarked for hiring. The startup’s next product in development is an automatic purchase warranty for customers.
Ownly recently raised a $2.5 million seed round. The Calgary-based property technology startup raised the capital to support a “rapid expansion into US markets.”
The Alberta startup’s platform allows customers to shop, pre-qualify, finance, and buy new homes—online, from any device. Working with ERP, CRM, and lot management software, Ownly enables transparent online home shopping while delivering data analytics into customer shopping behaviours and buying experiences.
Since launching in 2020, the Canadian startup has experienced 100,000 online builds and 4,000 homebuyers in Canada actively shopping for and saving homes through the company’s MyHome Portal.
With fresh capital, Ownly can scale its platform and bring a secure, frictionless experience of homebuying into North American markets, according to a statement from the company.
“This funding allows us to keep our momentum going at a faster and stronger pace,” says Ownly cofounder Jason Hardy.
Parvis Invest raised $2.6 million over the summer to launch a blockchain-based platform designed to modernize the investing process and unlock real estate opportunities. The Vancouver-based financial technology startup raised the capital in a seed round led by Gravitas Securities.
“Access to institutional real estate investment has long been an opportunity reserved for an elite few, and the industry is ripe for technological disruption,” said David Michaud, one of the founders of Parvis. He cofounded Parvis Invest alongside Drew Green, Conan Graham, and Jas Bagry in 2019.
Michaud added that the seed funding marks an “exciting milestone” for Parvis because it “signals the incredible appetite from the investor community in our vision of opening up access to real estate investing.”
According to Michaud, the $2.6 million will go toward investing in the technology necessary to build both a platform and marketplace for accredited investors “that will allow the industry to evolve in exciting ways.”
A New Brunswick financial technology startup recently raised a seed round. Following a stint at the iconic Y Combinator accelerator, Fredericton-based fintech Passiv announced a $2.2 million USD seed round.
Y Combinator invested in the company alongside Mistral Venture Partners, Uncorrelated Ventures, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, East Valley Ventures, and several angel investors.
The primary product of Passiv is SnapTrade, an API that allows developers to connect retail brokerage accounts to their app. The connection provides real-time account data, historical transactions, and live trading for stocks, options, and cryptocurrencies.
“The ability to integrate with one API to support many brokerages is quite a compelling value proposition,” noted Mike Scanlin of Mistral Venture Partners.
Passiv was founded in 2017 with the goal of making it easier for retail investors to invest and manage their wealth at retail brokerages and cryptocurrency exchanges. Seed funding will go toward advancing the development and commercialization of SnapTrade, as well as bolstering the team.