Interac wants to elevate the FinTech conversation at Canada’s largest tech festival

Back again for its third year, Elevate Tech Fest promises celebrity speakers, global tech leaders and inspiration for anyone who dreams of their own “moonshot.”

Speaking with BetaKit, Dinaro Ly, the Director of Innovation and Community Partnerships at Interac, shared what inspired Interac to partner with Elevate, how the company is involved in the festival, and what to keep an eye out for.

“[Elevate is] identifying the real winners in the ecosystem and giving them an opportunity and platform to thrive.”
– Dinaro Ly, Interac

Stating that Interac has technically been in the FinTech space for 35 years, Ly said it was the right time to look at how the organization supported “the next evolution of what’s happening within FinTech.”

“[Elevate is] identifying the real winners in the ecosystem and giving them an opportunity and platform to thrive, build relationships, raise capital, and potentially get customers out of these types of programs,” said Ly. “The mandate Elevate has around elevating Canada’s profile in the technology space resonates with us.”

Debbie Gamble, Chief Officer, Innovation Labs & New Ventures, told BetaKit she sees Elevate as a core meeting place of brilliant minds.

“Elevate is a place for innovators and problem-solvers,” said Gamble. “Every day, we work with emerging trends and technologies, including digital identity, blockchain and open banking, to help futureproof Canada within the digital economy.”

Risk and reward at the Open Banking Masterclass

While Interac is a creator partner for Elevate Money, that is not the only Elevate programming the organization is involved in. Interac is hosting an invite-only Masterclass on open banking at the festival and is also a co-creator of the Elevate Tech Jam, presented by TD Bank.

For Ly, each event fits into the Interac mission of ecosystem development. In order to build genuine progress, Ly said you need all types of people in the room: startups, corporate leaders, government, merchants, regulators, financial institutions and consumers.

That ecosystem development begins at Tech Jam, a hackathon taking place during the opening weekend of Elevate. Participants will work in teams of four to six, tackling different problem statements focused on solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.

“Championing collaboration across the diverse ecosystem is how Canada wins. That’s what we are doing at Elevate.”

Interac will play the role of mentor during the hackathon for teams tackling the problem statement it provided in partnership with TD, which Ly said will be focused on using financial technology to solve community problems. Ly added that the real focus of the problem statement is using financial technology, not telling people which community they must support. Instead, participants can choose whichever community they want to help.

Peter Maoloni, VP, Product & Platform Delivery at Interac, told BetaKit he’s looking forward to Tech Jam because of the learning it can bring.

“Championing collaboration across the diverse ecosystem is how Canada wins. That’s what we are doing at Elevate. We’re excited to share with and learn from other industry leaders and disruptors, from the Elevate Tech Jam participants to our Elevate Masterclass and Elevate Money Stage speakers and attendees.”

The problem solving will continue later in the week at the invite-only Masterclass on open banking.

At the Masterclass, invited stakeholders – ranging from startups to regulators, bankers, and venture capitalists – will dig deep to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with open banking in Canada.

Interested parties that want to join the conversation can reach out on Elevate’s website.

Trust and value at Elevate Money

The FinTech conversations spurred earlier in the week will culminate in Elevate Money, a full day of programming dedicated to the future of financial services on September 25th at the Design Exchange.

“The [Elevate] Money stage is a culmination of all those different stakeholders that have all the same desires and mandates to help raise the profile of Toronto and the Canadian FinTech ecosystem,” said Ly. “It’s really important that we provide a mechanism that can enable that networking, thought leadership, and sharing of ideas so that it helps bring us to the next stage of what FinTech could be in Canada.”

The Elevate Money stage will feature well-known Canadian FinTech leaders like Michael Katchen of Wealthsimple, Ted Livingston of Kin, and Debbie Gamble of Interac. What Ly thinks attendees should most watch out for, however, is the variety of topics discussed on stage, including the impact of digital ID, data sharing and privacy, user experience, and (of course) cryptocurrency. Each topic will be discussed along the two themes Ly indicated as the most important drivers for the future of FinTech: trust and value.

Like the rest of the tech festival, Elevate Money will also feature speakers from around the world, notably recording artist and social impact leader Akon. Speaking to the global draw of Elevate, Ly shared excitement that the world is coming to Canada. He said it not only gives the opportunity for us to learn from other FinTech players globally but also shows the world what Canada is producing.

“The key to the Elevate movement is to really show the world what Canada is capable of in our talent around FinTech,” said Ly.

Stefan Palios

Stefan Palios

Stefan is a Nova Scotia-based entrepreneur and writer passionate about the people behind tech. He's interviewed over 200 entrepreneurs on topics like management, scaling, diversity and inclusion, and sharing their personal stories. Follow him on Twitter @stefanpalios.

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