Today Wealthsimple announced it is selling it’s block of US accounts to US-based robo-advisor Betterment, and will no longer support US accounts. While there’s not a lot of commentary to read around the strategic rationale, it exemplifies a core design principle that we see among fintech winners: it’s better to focus on someone than everyone. 

Doubling down on the Canadian consumer will allow Wealthsimple to tailor their experience to Canadians without the complications of serving the needs of two very different countries in terms of regulatory bodies, legislation, products and tax implications. Their recent move into tax planning software (through the acquisition Canadian software company SimpleTax) is consistent with a strategy of building a diverse product platform aimed at a specific geography. 

Tackling new countries is likely best served with a dedicated focus, and the financial services sector happens to be one of the toughest ones in which to break new geographic ground. Revolut’s lengthy approach to expanding to Canada illustrates this.

The withdrawal of Wealthsimple from the US market is also not entirely surprising given their ownership: Power Corporation of Canada (owner of Canada Life, among many others) has a huge 77.4% ownership stake. Power Corp. is also an investor in neobank Koho Financial, which we’ve included in our upcoming LARI Report: Digital Banking – Opening an account digitally ranges from easy to egregious.

The Toronto-based FinTech company, which provides robo-advice as well as access to financial advisors, has been rapidly expanding the product line, adding new capabilities for savings and spending, crypto investing, and now peer-to-peer payments. According to The Globe and Mail, Wealthsimple accounted for 43 percent of new trading accounts opened in January, more than any other Canadian brokerage.

Vancouver-based has announced a partnership with lender Canadian Financial. The deal provides a white label version of MyMarble’s credit management tools to the lenders and merchants in Canadian Financial’s network. 

Canadian Financial, founded in 2015, is an Ottawa-based fintech platform for Canadians that offers access to over 200 lenders. Think of it as access to a wide range of alternative lending sources. The firm handles both consumer lending as well as commercial accounts (things like accounts receivable factoring). has a suite of tools designed to help Canadians better understand and improve their credit score. Users connect their banking info through the platform, which in turn leads to AI-powered recommendations from MyMarble to help with debt management and credit score quality. Through another tool, Maestro, you can access courses aimed at the core concepts of financial literacy. Another company active with a similar approach is Borrowwell, which offers a free credit report from Equifax as well as AI-driven recommendations for improvement.

The deal reflects a common need/tension among fintech’s offering a financial management platform to Canadians – the challenge of reach. Despite the innovation and strength of the product, it’s hard to make noise in a crowded market and the big banks still dominate share of mind and wallet. We’re increasingly seeing fintech’s turn to white label solutions to grow their user base by leveraging partner networks.


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.