Montréal-based software startup Mako Fintech has raised $2 million CAD in seed financing to help more wealth management professionals digitize and automate their office workflows.
The round, which came in the form of a convertible note, was led by Desjardins Capital. It saw support from a group of angel investors, including Mary Karamanos, former HR officer at BDC; Glenn Goucher, former president of TMX Group’s CDS and CDCC; and Rodney Dobson, former president of ADP Canada. The new seed capital brings Mako’s total funding to date to $3 million CAD.
Armed with fresh capital, Mako plans to invest heavily in growing its client support and customer success teams to help digest its backlog of interested customers.
Mako’s founder and president, Raphael Bouskila, told BetaKit the startup has seen significant demand for its offering from wealth professionals searching for ways to digitize during the pandemic. COVID-19 has reportedly accelerated the wealth management industry’s digital transformation. Armed with fresh capital, Mako plans to invest heavily in growing its client support and customer success teams to help digest its backlog of interested customers.
Launched in 2018, Mako’s software helps wealth management professionals bring their operations online. The startup’s platform allows wealth management firms to digitize and automate many of their manual processes, including client onboarding, renewal, and investment. Mako claims it is able to offer its solution “at a fraction of the cost of enterprise players,” through its use of “advanced low-code workflow automation systems.”
According to Bouskila, everything wealth professionals do involves filling out forms. The CEO identified the client onboarding process in particular as “really complex.” Pre-pandemic, this process often involved meeting clients in person and helping them fill out these documents. Bouskila said there was already a push to automate this process before COVID-19 given that its paper-heavy, in-person approach was inefficient and didn’t lead to the best customer experience.
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The CEO said “a big chunk of the industry” was forced to adjust by COVID-19, as public health concerns prevented wealth professionals from meeting with clients in person.
“Basically, a gigantic industry just couldn’t do business,” said Bouskila. “They just couldn’t onboard clients.”
Amid these conditions, the CEO said Mako’s phone “started ringing off the hook” with interested clients during the early-stages of the pandemic. Now, fresh funding in hand, Mako is ready to serve them.
“The solution offered by Mako Fintech responds to a growing need of wealth managers to take a digital turn, and the last 18 months have confirmed it,” said Marie-Hélène Nolet, COO at Desjardins Capital. Bouskila called the support of Desjardins Capital “a heavyweight vote of confidence with other players in our ecosystem.”
Prior to launching Mako, Bouskila founded and led another Montréal-based FinTech startup, CoPower, which offered a platform for impact investors and was acquired by Toronto’s Vancity Community Investment Bank in 2019. According to Bouskila, wealth managers he worked with at CoPower told him the company’s client onboarding system “was awesome” and asked if he could find a way to make it available for them. “That kind of pushed me to start a second company probably a little sooner than I ought to have,” said Bouskila.
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Mako can currently automate any workflow centred around forms, which Bouskila said encompasses nearly every process in finance. From a technical standpoint, the startup’s main focus going forward is on building more integrations with other systems used by wealth management firms. The CEO added that the company is experimenting with the idea of “embedding optical character recognition and AI more into their systems.”
The majority of Mako’s current business is in Canada. The startup’s clients are mainly in the independent wealth management ecosystem, but Mako is looking to expand to serve more financial institutions in the country. Although it isn’t actively trying to grow its presence outside of Canada, Mako has already begun doing business with the international affiliates of some of the Canadian firms it serves.
Over the past year, Mako grew its team from four to 18. The startup plans to expand to 40 or 50 employees by the end of the year, with a particular focus on adding people in sales, customer success, and engineering roles.
Feature image courtesy of Mako Fintech