Manulife announced today that it is joining the FinTech cluster at the MaRS Discovery District, kickstarting a partnership that Manulife hopes will help it stay competitive in an industry where startups lead the way in innovation.
As part of the partnership, MaRS will become Manulife’s Toronto location for its Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT), which is meant to encourage employees to collaborate and come up with tech solutions for Manulife’s wealth and asset management, and insurance business lines.
“The internal infrastructure that companies like Manulife are building, with projects like LOFT, is central to the future of business and technology innovation,” said Salim Teja, executive vice president of venture services at MaRS. “LOFT’s arrival at MaRS and our partnership with Manulife will significantly expand the resources and networks available to our entrepreneurial community.”
The news comes almost immediately following Manulife’s announcement that the company’s senior vice president of wealth management strategy and business development was appointed as chief innovation officer.
“We’re looking to our employees to solve problems and take risks using their own unique entrepreneurial talents,” said Sebastian Blandizzi, Manulife’s senior vice president of global solutions delivery and CIO of its investment division. “Initiatives like LOFT are critical to our future success as we strive to create innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”
In startup fashion, LOFT is hosting a two-day hackathon at the MaRS Discovery District called Unleash Toronto: from Paper to Prototype.