BMO makes startup funding play, launches innovation banking group

Investors

Bank of Montreal (BMO) has announced the launch of its Technology & Innovation Banking Group, intended to provide advice and funding to companies at every stage of growth, from startup, to post-exit or IPO.

“This new group will help these high growth companies compete both here at home and on a global scale.”

The group, which will be led by Andre Salvi and includes managing directors Devon Dayton and Deirdre Bergin, is looking to provide financing solutions and advice for its clients. BMO said the Technology & Innovation Banking Group will also work alongside the BMO Capital Markets and BMO Wealth Management teams. The bank said it will tap into its North American presence, aiming to help businesses build seamless cross-border operations.

“We continue to be bullish on the technology sector in Canada,” said David Wismer, managing director of BMO Capital Markets. “It is a vital sector to Canada, and we are seeing a growing appetite to lend to the companies within it. This new group will help these high growth companies compete both here at home and on a global scale.”

Salvi, leading the Technology & Innovation Banking Group, comes from 20 years of experience in investment banking, private equity and mezzanine financing, emerging payments, partnerships, and strategic investments. He recently led strategic partnerships with FinTech companies for BMO, according to the financial institution.

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“There is an opportunity to better support the companies, and founders, which are operating in the sector and driving the innovation economy,” said Salvi. “These companies have diverse needs, including investing, business planning, and wealth management requirements. We bring a bank-wide approach and are excited to make an impact and help the companies in this fast-evolving sector.”

BMO is not the only big bank to make moves in the tech startup space. After CIBC acquired Wellington Financial early last year, the bank pushed forward its own entry into the startup ecosystem.

After the scare of the dot-com crash, banks were more than hesitant to invest in the tech sector, but now things might be changing, according to The Globe and Mail, which stated that CIBC’s acquisition is spurring competition from fellow financial institutions.

In March 2018, CIBC invested $65 million CAD into Hootsuite. Earlier this year, Silicon Valley Bank officially opened shop in Canada. Venture debt firm Espresso Capital, which recently snagged one of BMO’s executives, Mark Gilbert, has also partnered with RBC as well as SaaS consultancy firm, Winning By Design, to gain some traction in the Canadian tech landscape.

“The technology sector is transforming our country and ensuring the continued success of these companies will be important to helping Canada reach its full economic potential,” said Cameron Fowler, president of North American personal and business banking at BMO. “We’re here to help entrepreneurs bring new ideas to market, drive innovation and enable established enterprises to reach their full potential and scale.”

Image courtesy Pixabay.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast