Ryerson University and Tangerine announced a joint partnership to establish the new Ryerson Tangerine Thinkcubator, which will be dedicated to providing space for startups working on FinTech and mobile connected workforce solutions.
“What we’ve learned is that we never really know where innovation will actually be applied.”
The incubator is housed on the second floor of Tangerine’s downtown Toronto location, and will provide mentorship and support with access to Tangerine’s networks and the Ryerson incubator ecosystem. Tangerine is specifically working with Ryerson’s Magnet incubator, which is focused on social innovation for employment and economic development.
As Ryerson is home to incubators like the DMZ, which was named the third best incubator in the world, and specialized ‘Zones’ like its Fashion Zone, Tangerine’s chief strategy officer Brenda Rideout said that the bank is using Ryerson’s existing incubator infrastructure to its full advantage — in fact, the incubator has already enlisted the help of DMZ-based Physicalytics to help it analyze the traffic of the space.
“We always want to provide Canadians with experiences that they didn’t even know they wanted,” said Rideout. “We haven’t necessarily said [to startups] this has to be exactly where it fits, nor do we want to put those boundaries on innovation. The idea is that were supporting local startups and community.”
Startups working out of the incubator won’t be restricted on what ideas they work on, and startups that show high potential have the chance to have projects piloted through Tangerine. No equity is taken from companies.
“It’s a case-by-case basis. What’s cool is that we really recognize there’s a difference between an incubator out of an institution than one just purely backed by venture capital, where the only goal is to make the next Facebook or Google. We’re supporting these companies because we feel like it’s the right thing to do,” said Mark Patterson, executive director of Magnet.
As startups are new territory for Tangerine, the bank and Magnet will be working together in the coming months to determine how timelines will work for startups developing products and at what stage companies become viable enough to leave the space.
“What we’ve learned is that we never really know where innovation will actually be applied,” Patterson said. “Ryerson has been in a period of really rapid change and a lot of that has been driven by an inclusive and collaborative mandate, and senior leadership hoping to be innovative and creative.”
Rideout echoed Patterson’s sentiment that the fact that both institutions were focused on staying constantly on the cusp of innovation is the reason why they saw the potential for a strong partnership.
“There’s a very similar culture and passion for innovation and decision making,” said Rideout. “I think we’re both able to make decisions quite quickly, and neither of us are afraid to fail. There might be startups that come in and don’t work, and that’s okay too. That’s how you drive innovation.”