MaRS Discovery District launches Canada’s first dedicated financial technology cluster and brings together experts from finance and technology like never before.

TORONTO, February 17, 2015 – MaRS Discovery District today announced strategic partnerships with PayPal and UGO to power financial technology (fintech) innovation and entrepreneurship. A new FinTech Cluster based at MaRS will connect leaders in the technology and financial services sector with startups developing next generation technology in payments, financial services, peer-to-peer transactions, alternative lending, and crypto-currencies.

“The industry partnerships announced today signal a desire from senior leaders in Canada’s technology and financial services sector to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship by partnering with MaRS,” said Salim Teja, Executive Vice President of Ventures, MaRS. “MaRS, which is located within walking distance of Toronto’s financial district, is the natural home for fintech innovation.”

The announcement was held at MaRS in the heart of downtown Toronto and included leaders from major technology and financial institutions, investors, entrepreneurs, and other partners from the Canadian innovation industry. The new FinTech Cluster will be led by Adam Nanjee, previously Vice President of Business Development in Emerging Payments at MasterCard Canada.

New technologies are dramatically changing consumer behaviour and offering opportunities for innovation in financial services. Global investment in fintech ventures reached nearly US$3 billion in the last five years and is set to grow to US$8 billion by 2018. Toronto is a technology hub and the heart of financial services in Canada, generating $13 billion in fiscal benefits annually. MaRS is building on this momentum, bringing together Toronto’s vibrant tech community and financial services sector to create a dynamic new centre for Canadian fintech ventures.

With the launch of a dedicated FinTech Cluster in Toronto, and partnerships with PayPal and UGO, MaRS will offer high-growth financial technology startups a sophisticated and comprehensive set of resources. Through MaRS’ strategic network of partners, the FinTech Cluster will support entrepreneurs with rapid validation, access to investment, product feedback, sales opportunities, and business advisory from industry experts.

“We are working with MaRS to help Canadian startups create meaningful and innovative digital commerce experiences,” said Alexander Peh, Head of Market Development and Mobile at PayPal Canada. “By hosting our global BattleHack competition and facilitating meetups at MaRS, we want to build a vibrant community of world-class technology innovators in Canada.”

“UGO is a new mobile wallet app that allows users to make payments, collect, and redeem loyalty points,” said Alec Morley, CEO of UGO Mobile Solutions. “Working together with MaRS and its fintech community provides an opportunity to drive innovation in this new and evolving space, to benefit Canadian consumers and business alike.”

“MaRS’ dedicated financial technology cluster brings key players from the fintech sector together, giving our startup access to the types of growth opportunities we need to build our business,” said Andrew Graham, CEO of Borrowell.

The full range of facilities for fintech startups will be available later this year. Today, qualified startups have access to corporate partners, investors, and advisory resources. Applications are currently being accepted from ventures across the fintech spectrum. To apply, visit www.marsdd.com/fintech.

Starting next month, MaRS will host Toronto’s cryptocurrency community through a collaboration with Decentral Toronto, founder of Canada’s largest bitcoin meetup. The 900-member Toronto Bitcoin & Ethereum Meetup will be held at MaRS beginning in March. Also in the coming weeks, Cryptiv, a Toronto-based cryptocurrency startup that enables digital transactions through social media networks, will be moving into the MaRS Centre.

About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS cultivates high-impact ventures and equips innovators to drive economic and societal prosperity. MaRS provides expert advice and market research, and makes connections to talent, customers and capital. MaRS startup ventures have created 6,500 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised $1 billion in capital and generated $500 million in revenue.

About PayPal
At PayPal, we put people at the centre of everything we do. Founded in 1998, we continue to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution, processing almost 11.5 million payments for our customers per day. PayPal gives people better ways to connect to their money and to each other, helping them send money without sharing financial information and with the flexibility to pay using their PayPal account balances, bank accounts and credit cards. With our 162 million active digital wallets, we have created an open and secure payments ecosystem where people and businesses choose to securely transact with each other online, in stores and on mobile devices. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available to people in 203 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.

About UGO Wallet
UGO Wallet is a digital wallet application that brings the power of simplicity to everyday life by combining payment and loyalty cards in one simple and secure application. UGO Wallet offers Canadians an effortless way to shop and participate in loyalty programs, all on their smartphone. www.ugo.ca

About Borrowell
Borrowell is an online marketplace lending platform that provides responsible Canadians with better borrowing options. Our affordable, fixed-interest loans are funded by carefully selected institutional investors, allowing us to offer better rates, better service and a better customer experience. More information is available at: www.borrowell.com

For more information, contact:
Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District
416.673.8100
ltorvi@marsdd.com