This is the 8th annual event hosted by the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA). Labeled FFCON23: REGEN, the event begins March 14 and runs through to April 4, 2023. There are both in-person events in Toronto as well as digital sessions.

Having attended last year’s event, I can say it’s a great way to connect with transformative fintech business leaders. This year’s event promises experts from a long list of fintech topics including:

  • open banking
  • blockchain
  • digital assets
  • web3
  • metaverse
  • decentralized finance
  • virtual commerce
  • capital markets innovation
  • payments
  • wealthtech
  • regtech
  • crypto
  • alternative finance

The once-a-week sessions bring together entrepreneurs, investors, financial institutions and government officials. The events will feature over 50 speakers. To name a few, Alex Tapscott, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute, and King Leung, Head of Fintech for Invest Hong Kong.

Tickets are available here. You can buy a full access pass or choose from these individual weeks:

  • Week 1: Digital Finance Innovation
  • Week 2: Alternative Investing and Fintech Draft Competition
  • Week 3: Regenerative Finance, Sustainability, Purpose
  • Week 4: Metaverse, Web3, Digital Assets, DAOs
  • Week 5: In-person Mixer and Networking

Longueuil, Quebec-based fintech Hardbacon obtained it’s latest round of financing through public crowdfunding platform FrontFundr. With a funding target of $500k, the platform is open for funding for another 11 days and has already reached $574k.  With interest rates at historic lows, it’s generally not hard for start-ups to find financing these days, but we applaud the approach of taking this to the public rather than venture capitalists. 

For one, the financial app/platform capitalizes on an opportunity to turn existing users into investors. Those who love the app experience will be among the pool of finaciers. When your most loyal users have skin in the game as investors, that drives product loyalty to new levels.

We plan to review Hardbacon in an upcoming LARI report where we specifically explore financial planning and comparison tools. For now, if you’re unfamiliar with the platform, a commonly known comparison would be Intuit’s Mint. Hardbacon engages Canadians with their finances, budgets and planning, and then allows them to compare and connect with providers in a number of categories: robo-advisors, chequing accounts, online brokers, savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and personal loans.  

This week Toronto-based KOHO launched a new service, KOHO Credit Building, reports all activity to TransUnion, one of the two major reporting bureaus in Canada. The service costs $7/month, and is aimed at helping clients improve their credit scores. By issuing a small line of credit and reporting on it monthly, clients can generate a positive credit history. 

“Historically, the options for building credit are expensive, murky or both, especially for middle-class Canadians,” explains CEO of KOHO, Daniel Eberhard. “We think our approach to credit building is a new form factor. It’s simple, affordable and transparent. We’re really proud of it.”

The service complements KOHO’s existing product shelf, which is based on a full-service banking or savings account with no fees. The account includes a prepaid Visa card that earns cash back. 

The startup is backed by industry giant Power Corp., and it’s growth trends are impressive. With over 350k users, and $2 billion a year in transactions, it’s one to watch (but certainly not the only one, with a nod to MotusBank, Mogo, NeoFinancial and Revolut). 

Our insights team at LARI particularly likes their publicly accessible product roadmap. It allows anyone to see what’s in their development timeline for the year ahead, and provides virtual collaboration options for visitors to submit feature requests. We applaud this approach for a few reasons:

  • Engaging heavily with clients in product development is the surest path to a winning product
  • Transparency ranks highly on the list of what Canadian clients value from a financial services provider
  • Collecting client feedback during ALL cycles of product development will hands-down result in better products than a gated approach with “windows” for feedback and refinement