Innovate Financial Health, a national nonprofit that supports technology that improves Canadians’ financial health, is launching an accelerator funded by Capital One.
Capital One is the founding sponsor for the initial program, which will take place over three months starting in January 2020. In total, $100,000 in grant funding will be provided for four ventures.
The accelerator plans to help startups … with challenges like conducting user testing with financially vulnerable Canadians.
The accelerator will provide startups with up to $25,000 in grant funding, mentorship from founders, financial services executives and experts in financial health, as well as workshops on growing ventures. The program, which will not take equity from startups, will take place over three-months and accelerator sessions will take place over four days each month, in Toronto.
“We started Innovate Financial Health because we believe that technology can play a critical role in addressing the real challenges that millions of Canadians face each and every day in managing their money,” said Elvis Wong, founder and managing director of Innovate Financial Health. “Challenges like avoiding overdrafts, building emergency funds, and finding pathways out of debt while living paycheque-to-paycheque. Our goal with the Impact Accelerator is to find mission-driven entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools and resources necessary to scale their impact across Canada.”
Innovate Financial Health, which launched in 2018, wants to build an ecosystem of startups, investors, non-profits, and financial institutions to help solutions improve the financial health of millions of Canadians. The non-profit said that over half of Canadians say their spending equals or exceeds their income on an average month, and one-third are unable to pay all of their bills on time.
The goal of the accelerator is to help startups in this field with challenges like conducting user testing with financially vulnerable Canadians, forming partnerships with financial institutions, and fundraising from FinTech and impact investors. Participants of the program can work with mentors that are FinTech founders, financial services executives, and experts in financial health and financially vulnerable end users to build a sustainable business.
The non-profit’s advisors include Liz Mulholland, CEO of Prosper Canada, a charity that encourages economic opportunity for people in poverty through programs; Dinaro Ly, head of innovation and partnerships at Interac; and Ramesh Siromani, senior vice president of strategy and transformation at RBC.
Along with the accelerator, Innovate Financial Health is undergoing a research project with Prosper Canada to generate research on Canada’s FinTech and financial health landscape; to understand the potential long-term need for a financial health startup incubator or accelerator in Canada.