F|T: The FinTech Times – Neo and Pine backer Thomvest secures new $250M fund

Plus: Crypto is beanie babies, Coinbase says.

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Thomvest Ventures closes $250M fund to invest across fintech, cybersecurity, AI

Thomvest Ventures announced it closed a new $250 million fund and promoted Umesh Padval and Nima Wedlake to the role of managing directors. Started 25 years ago by Peter Thomson, whose family is the majority owners of Thomson Reuters, Thomvest has also backed Canadian FinTech startups like Neo Financial and Pine.

Thomvest Ventures deploys its capital in the areas of financial and real estate technology, cybersecurity, cloud, and AI/data infrastructure.

The fund expects to invest in between 25 and 30 companies with check sizes ranging $5 million to $15 million for early-stage and $7 million to $25 million in the later stage.



ECM’s 2024 Rebound: Rebalancing the Equation

After a year of macro volatility, equity markets look set to rebound in 2024, with a return to micro fundamentals, a stronger breadth of transactions, and a new set of risks and rewards for investors and issuers to balance.

We are excited to share a special edition of RBC Capital Markets Strategic Alternatives podcast series, where our global equity capital markets experts break down what may be to come.  

Get the full picture in our Global ECM Outlook

Plooto, GoDaddy bring new payment, commerce offerings to Canadian businesses

This week, Toronto-based Plooto, which helps small to medium-sized businesses automate their accounts payable and accounts receivable operations, has launched a new, security-focused “Plooto Pro” subscription tier.

While lower tiers of Plooto’s service offers integrations with Xero and Quickbooks, the new pro tier offers an additional integration with business management software Oracle NetSuite. GoDaddy, known for website domains, hosting, and design services, also launched its commerce platform in Canada this week.

The company said its payment offerings come with lower rates than competitors Square, Stripe, and Shopify. 


Investors raise billions to buy discounted stakes in start-ups

Investment firms are raising billions of dollars to buy stakes in venture capital-backed technology start-ups, as a long drought in acquisitions and initial public offerings forces early investors to offload their stock at discounts.

Secondary market specialist Lexington Partners last week announced a new $23-billion fund to buy up stakes from “large-scale investors”. Lexington had originally aimed to raise $15 billion, but upped its target on the back of high demand, and said it was “in the early stages of a generational secondary buying opportunity” that could last years.

“We are seeing crazy amounts of [limited partner investors] that are distressed and need to lighten their venture load,” said the head of a $2-billion venture capital firm.

(Financial Times)


There has been a growing tidal wave of leadership changes at Canadian tech companies and organizations that began at the end of 2023.

Some CEO replacements were expected as part of a substitution process following the retirement of previous leaders, such as with MaRS Discovery District in December and MindBridge this week, while others opted to retire or were forced out.

Just this past week, ActiveState, AnalytixInsight, Acuity Insights, Volaris Group, and Flashfood have all experienced transitions at the CEO level. Other departures however, were not as expected.


Coinbase Argues Crypto Is Like Beanie Babies in SEC Case Hearing

As the largest US crypto exchange, Coinbase told a federal court hearing this week that buying cryptocurrency on an exchange was more like collecting Beanie Babies than investing in a stock or bond.

Coinbase was arguing for the dismissal of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit accusing it of selling unregistered securities. William Savitt, a lawyer for Coinbase, told US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla that tokens trading on the exchange aren’t securities subject to SEC jurisdiction because buyers don’t gain any rights as a part of their purchases, as they do with stocks or bonds.

“It’s the difference between buying Beanie Babies Inc. and buying Beanie Babies,” Savitt said.

The question of whether digital tokens are securities has divided courts and the decision could potentially set precedent. 

(BNN Bloomberg)

AGF Private Capital acquires majority stake in Kensington Capital Partners for $45 million

Toronto-based firms AGF Private Capital and Kensington Capital Partners have signed a definitive agreement that will see AGF acquire a majority interest in Kensington for $45 million.

Following AGF’s investment, Kensington will now benefit from AGF’s $42.8 billion in assets under management, as well as its distribution reach and operating infrastructure, the firms said in a statement. 


The crypto winter is looking unseasonably warm

Given the negative headlines, you’d be forgiven for assuming crypto investors got battered in 2023, but the numbers show the market actually posted remarkably high returns as it recovered from the crashes of 2022. 

In a year dominated by negative headlines—the collapse of American crypto-friendly banks, the conviction of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on fraud charges, the dearth of venture capital as investors pivoted to AI—Bitcoin soared. The digital asset returned about 155 per cent over the course of the calendar year, running laps around the S&P 500’s 24 per cent increase over the same period.

(The Logic)

Feds award ventureLAB $4.5 million to scale more hardware, semiconductor companies

Ontario tech hub ventureLAB has received a $4.5-million injection from the federal government to help more hardware and semiconductor-focused tech companies scale through its Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI).

The funding, which was delivered through FedDev Ontario, will be used to speed up the development of 30 semiconductor and hardware tech firms.


Robinhood settles Massachusetts regulators’ trading case for $7.5 million

Online brokerage Robinhood has agreed to pay a $7.5-million fine and overhaul its practices to resolve allegations by Massachusetts’ securities regulators that it encouraged inexperienced investors to place risky trades.

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin filed an enforcement action in 2020 alleging Robinhood’s app-based service used strategies that treated trading like a game to lure young, inexperienced customers into placing risky trades.


OCI is bringing back innovation conference DiscoveryX

After a four-year absence, the Ontario Centre of Innovation is bringing back its innovation conference this April.

The DiscoveryX Conference and Trade Show, now in its 15th year, will be held from April 17 to 18 in Toronto’s Enercare Centre.

The event will host entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, as well as government and tech industry stakeholders.

Early bird attendee and student passes are currently available until March 1. 


Aquanow Partners to Modernize Financial Services with Crypto Tech

In 2024, Aquanow is working with global cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io to “build global liquidity for the next wave of blockchain projects,” according to a recently released statement from the firms. The collaboration aims to bridge traditional and digital currency markets with its solution.

Another FinTech company collaboration this week comes from financial data connectivity provider Flinks and digital ID verification solution Oliu. The platforms will integrate their features to enable a “frictionless digital ID verification using bank connectivity,” according to a statement released by the firms.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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