Highline Beta and FinTech Station, a Finance Montreal initiative, are thrilled to announce that we have partnered to launch a new startup accelerator program. Capitalizing on the thriving Quebec Fintech ecosystem, we are looking to support early-stage startups from across Canada and North America to work towards a corporate partnership through the Station FinTech Accelerator powered by Highline Beta.
“Through this initiative, Finance Montreal aims to foster synergy between its members and startups and continues to work to promote and accelerate innovation projects. We are proud to launch this unique program alongside Highline Beta.“– Jacques Deforges, CEO of Finance Montreal
FinTech Station is a Finance Montreal initiative that aims to provide new fintech companies with an environment that promotes their development and allows larger corporates in Canada to interact with them and gain a strategic advantage in the space. The FinTech Station was created to showcase the talent of young local entrepreneurs and entice promising companies to Quebec by creating an environment that will help facilitate fintech innovation.
The accelerator aims to work with top early-stage Canadian and North American startups within the fintech vertical. The program will be run out of FinTech Station (virtually and in-person when possible) and focus on a key theme per cohort, starting with payments. Our goal is to help the selected startups grow and get them closer to corporate partnerships through Finance Montreal’s members.
The program and benefits provided to startups will be tailored to their specific needs to allow them to meet their business goals. A key focus is to create collaboration opportunities between FinTech startups and large companies in the financial industry.
Cohort 1: A Focus on Payments
With fintech being such a hot topic and encompassing many areas, the first iteration of the Station FinTech Accelerator powered by Highline Beta will focus on payments innovation.
Payments take place everywhere. Through SMBs, retail, subscriptions or e-commerce, payments enable the movement of goods and services. And payment infrastructure (how money moves) can be complex between the different enablers in the system. We’ve put together five key themes around payments and are interested in finding startups in all of them:
- Payments Everywhere: Transactions are happening in more places than ever before as companies try to capture more value via their audiences. Social networks are becoming marketplaces, and contactless payments via PoS terminals and via digital wallets increases where and when payments are made.
- SMBs Go Digital: To survive and thrive, SMBs are going digital, and that digital transformation comes with a lot of implications around payments.
- Explosion in Ecommerce: Reducing the friction of payments for goods and services sold via online marketplaces is key for businesses that want to thrive in the digital economy. How can AI’s proliferation and adoption be used to reduce the steps to purchase and make it safer and more reliable?
- Vertically Focused Payment Systems: We are starting to see examples of industry or vertically-specific payments solutions emerging, fully integrated into the solutions and customer journeys of those industries. As this trend continues, there will be opportunities to use payments to solve customer pain points in specific verticals. With companies disrupting how employees are paid, to validating the delivery and payment of physical products, verticals and specific industries often need tailored solutions that improve the experience for all participants.
- Subscription Everything: From social media to car usage, everything is becoming a subscription, sometimes as a way to monetize the engagement to a product or a service. This has a significant impact on how businesses and consumers manage their budgets and cash flow. How can innovation in subscription transactions and payments make products and services more accessible and affordable?
What Will Startups Get?
The program will run for four months and culminate in a Demo Day at Finance Montreal’s Canada FinTech Forum. We’ll evaluate each startup’s specific needs and tailor the programming and support accordingly. Startups will receive active, weekly coaching from our team and FinTech Station members. A great deal of our focus will be on startup-corporate collaboration, but we’ll also be helping startups with fundraising, business model assumptions, product, go-to-market and more.
We’ll create several touchpoints for startups to work with Finance Montreal members through private events, 1:1 office hours, etc. We want to put startups on the right path to unlocking the value of corporate collaboration.
As well, Highline Beta will be making a $25k up-front investment (minimum) in each selected startup for 2% equity, with the potential of further investment from the Highline Beta Fund as the program progresses.
How Can Fintech Startups Apply?
Applications are now open on the Station FinTech Website
The applications will close on May 23, 2021 and the program will kick-off in June 2021 (ending in October at Finance Montreal’s Canada FinTech Forum.)