Toronto-based FinTech startup Uplinq has closed a $4.4 million CAD ($3.5 million USD) pre-seed round.
The financing was co-led by venture capital firms N49P and Surface Ventures, with participation from MoVi Partners, Impulsum Ventures, Magic Fund, Assure Syndicates, and the DVC Syndicate. Uplinq noted that several FinTech executives also invested in the round, though their names were not disclosed.
As a serial entrepreneur, Uplinq counts as Uplinq CEO and co-founder Ron Benegbi’s fifth startup.
A spokesperson for Uplinq told BetaKit that the $3.5 million USD was closed across two tranches, raising a $1.4 million round in May 2021 and a $2.1 million round in March this year. Both tranches, which were done via a convertible SAFE note, comprising institutional investors and angel contributors.
Launching its operations earlier this year, Uplinq claims to provide the first global credit assessment platform. Targeting small business lenders, the company says its API enables its users to access billions of unique and validated data signals to measure small businesses’ performance to support lenders’ credit decisions.
Armed with its first institutional round of funding, Uplinq intends to use it “immediately” to help scale its operations internationally. The startup also intends to use the fresh capital to “further refine its solution,” by providing more precise and predictive insights within the credit-decisioning process.
Ron Benegbi, Uplinq’s CEO and co-founder, said witnessing his parents struggle to make a living as small business owners is the reason why he created Uplinq.
“We were very fortunate that one bank manager took a ‘flyer’ on my dad when he applied for a loan, even though he made it clear that the application did not meet the bank’s lending criteria,” he explained. “Most small business owners are not nearly as fortunate as this, which is why I started Uplinq.”
As a serial entrepreneur, Uplinq counts as Benegbi’s fifth startup. He previously founded and led a number of startups that operate in the financial and SaaS spaces.
Benegbi’s past companies include Accolade, a software for employee rewards and recognition; Carlton One Engagement, a performance improvement marketing company that focuses on delivering incentive, loyalty, and rewards solutions; and Global Rewards Solutions, a cloud-based management system.
Prior to Uplinq, Benegbi also co-founded Railz.ai, a startup that provides a single API to major accounting software service providers that enables on-demand access to financial transactions, analytics, insights, and reports on small business customers.
Uplinq’s co-founder, Patrick Reily, has held leadership positions in financial institutions. Reily previously led the development of North American products at Equifax. He also managed his own business, Verde International, for over 15 years.
Feature image from Uplinq