Fintel Connect closes $4.8 million CAD to help financial institutions drive cost-effective growth

BankTech Ventures, EDC-backed Fintel Connect eyes US expansion.

After selling her previous performance marketing technology firm to payments giant Paysafe, Fintel Connect founder and CEO Nicky Senyard is ready to apply the same playbook to a different industry.

Self-financed and founded by Senyard in 2002, Montréal-based Income Access helps online gambling companies with digital customer acquisition. Following an “overnight success of 14 years,” Income Access was acquired by Paysafe in 2016 for $40 million CAD.

“We’ve had the experience in the industry.”
-Nicky Senyard, Fintel Connect

Now, Senyard is taking what she learned in building Income Access to another highly-regulated space: financial services. She is now using her performance marketing experience to drive safe and cost-effective digital growth for financial services firms through Fintel Connect—this time with the help of venture capital.

Vancouver-based Fintel Connect raised its first venture financing late this summer, securing over $4.8 million CAD ($3.75 million USD) to fuel tech development and its United States (US) expansion plans. The all-equity seed round was led by California’s BankTech Ventures (BTV) with support from Export Development Canada (EDC).

As the financial services space has become increasingly crowded, Senyard said the sector’s appetite for performance marketing solutions and Fintel Connect as a digital customer acquisition tool has increased. “We’ve had the experience in the industry and … we’re able to capitalize on this acquisition type in a way that the industry hasn’t seen before,” Senyard told BetaKit in an interview.

Launched in 2020 by Senyard, Fintel Connect’s proprietary technology delivers specialized tools designed to help North American FinTech firms, insurtech companies, banks, and credit unions acquire customers quickly, safely, and cost-effectively.

The startup helps financial institution customers scale their business by connecting their products to hundreds of publishers willing to promote them to potential customers on a results basis. On the publisher side, Fintel Connect links sites like Forbes, NerdWallet, Business Insider, CreditKarma, and Borrowell to financial industry players.

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Fintel Connect offers a suite of products, including a tracking and reporting platform, a curated network of financial publishers and influencers, and artificial intelligence-driven marketing and compliance tools. “Those are the three things that we provide,” said Senyard. “Scale, content compliance, and cost-effectiveness.”

Though Fintel Connect faces marketing tech competitors in each sub-category, from tracking and reporting to compliance, Senyard noted that Fintel Connect hasn’t encountered any other companies geared specifically towards financial services firms that offer all three of these components.

Since Fintel Connect focuses exclusively on financial services firms, Senyard argued that the startup has a strong understanding of the compliance requirements facing companies operating in the industry. These requirements extend to how they represent themselves in marketing materials. “When you’re a financial institution, content compliance is key,” said Senyard.

To date, Fintel Connect has amassed a list of Canadian customers that includes RBC, CIBC, National Bank, and Sun Life.

For smaller financial services players like community banks looking to compete with better-capitalized giants by revamping their digital customer acquisition strategies, Fintel Connect’s performance marketing tech could prove an attractive option.

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Fintel Connect chief revenue officer Alana Levine told BetaKit that she sees an opportunity for the performance marketing tech startup to help “level the playing field” for community banks. This is part of why BTV has invested in Fintel Connect through this round.

“Community banks need to be armed with the right capabilities and partners to reach their growth potential,” said BTV managing director Carey Ransom. “It was quickly apparent to our team that Fintel Connect’s digital marketing expertise and technology were unparalleled, and their commitment to helping community banks to succeed was evident. We’re proud to have them within our ecosystem of high-impact solutions.”

For her part, Levine expects BTV to help Fintel Connect better understand the US financial services landscape as the latter looks to expand its presence south of the border.

Jacqueline Ovens, managing partner of mid-market lending and investments at EDC, noted that Fintel Connect’s solutions are “disrupting the way financial institutions approach digital growth” by helping them acquire customers online in a more effective and cost-efficient fashion.

“It was quickly apparent to our team that Fintel Connect’s digital marketing expertise and technology were unparalleled.”
-Carey Ransom, BTV

“The fast-growing, woman-founded company is exactly the type of business that EDC’s Inclusive Trade Investments Program aims to elevate,” said Ovens.

As budgets tighten heading into what could be a prolonged economic downturn, Fintel Connect sees an opportunity to help financial services firms to improve their approach to digital customer acquisition.

Having bootstrapped a business before, Senyard noted that the startup’s mentality has always been that every dollar counts, regardless of broader economic conditions. As a company, Fintel Connect’s goal is to reach cash flow breakeven as quickly as possible.

As broader market conditions have worsened, Senyard noted that Fintel Connect has been paying close attention to client conversations. Amid the downturn, the CEO said they have shifted towards how they can do more with less—which is just what Fintel Connect enables.

“This is always the [marketing] channel that tends to get the most love because it is more of a guaranteed results-based tactic,” said Levine. “And it generally is the most efficient channel second to organic in terms of the cost of acquisition and volume that it can deliver.”

Feature image courtesy Fintel Connect.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache. He was also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award.

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