Written by Jessica Galang
The Toronto-based FinTech company has raised $100 million to date, and plans to use the new injection of capital to continue its expansion in Canada and the United States. It’s also investing in Wealthsimple for Advisors, its B2B platform.
The startup has emerged as one of Canada’s FinTech darlings, and even major banks have taken notice of its model and launched their own competitors. The company credits part of its success to its millennial-friendly design, and a focus on financial management as a lifestyle. Wealthsimple publishes a magazine featuring celebrities like Anthony Bourdain, Kylie Jenner, and Jon Hamm about their financial habits.
Despite its international success, CEO Mike Katchen tells BetaKit that he’s still set on building from Canada.
“We have every intention of keeping our headquarters in Canada, and we hope to see a lot more Canadian companies doing that,” said Katchen. He cites the supportive community — both at the government at startup level — as a major advantage.
“The beautiful thing about building in Canada is just that supportive community and the ecosystem, and that couldn’t be better evidenced by anything than the fact that the Prime Minister is coming to our office to help with this announcement.”
While the startup now has $1 billion in assets under administration, Katchen says that gaining customers’ full trust is still an ongoing effort.
“I say we’re far from done. And it’s something we have to work hard at every day,” said Katchen. “Two years ago, we had no assets and no funding, and asking people to trust us with their life savings was a lot harder than now, where we have a billion in assets.”
“Wealthsimple is making investing approachable to people at all stages of their financial lives, and in particular younger investors who have traditionally been underserved by the financial industry.” – Paul Desmarais III, senior VP at Power Financial
Wealthsimple is among a number of strong Canadian FinTechs in Power Financial’s portfolio, which includes Borrowell, Clearbanc, Koho, and LEAGUE. Katchen said Power’s deep expertise and connections to businesses across the world helps the Canadian company think more globally.
“Wealthsimple is making investing approachable to people at all stages of their financial lives, and in particular younger investors who have traditionally been underserved by the financial industry,” said Paul Desmarais III, chairman of Wealthsimple and senior VP at Power Financial. “With our biggest investment in Wealthsimple to date, we’re excited to see the company continue to grow and succeed.”
When Katchen launched Wealthsimple two years ago, he told his board of advisors that his vision was to make their first trillion dollars in 15 years. When asked if he’s on the way to that goal, Katchen laughs, but expresses optimism. “I have to stop saying that! We are extremely excited that we’ve gotten to this milestone of a billion,” he said. “We did that faster than any of our contemporaries around the world in this space, and in a market that’s a tenth of the size of the US.”
Katchen made a point to send a message to the Canadian tech community: that now is the time to start a company in Canada. “The support is there, the funding is there; I think to some extent there’s still some challenges there obviously, but I hope that more Canadian entrepreneurs look to build really audacious, big businesses out of Canada.”
StartUp HERE Toronto is a publishing partner of Betakit and this article was originally published on their site.