Written by Ahmed Saleh
Applicants from across Canada were invited to apply for the program, which included a four-month placement at the DMZ, the leading university-based incubator in North America; an exclusive opportunity to pilot their technology with BMO; and introductions to venture capital groups that may be willing to take the startup to the next level.
A total of six finalists had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges. Three winners were named, and included:
- First place: Zensurance: Offering curated commercial insurance packages for startups and small businesses.
- Second place: Dwello: A platform for landlords and property managers to be empowered with the tools to facilitate and automate rent payments.
- Third place: FormHero: Replaces PDFs and paperwork with a customer-focused dialogue, automatically finding and filling out the right documents.
“We entered into this partnership with the goal of working with Canada’s most innovative and talented entrepreneurs to bring customer-focused solutions to market more quickly than ever before,” said Cameron Fowler, Group Head, Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group. “We’ve done that with this program, demonstrating how partnerships can bring mutually beneficial opportunities forward that ultimately lead to better customer experiences.”
This partnership has created opportunities that support the finalists in scaling their innovative technologies. The inaugural program also helps to position Toronto as a global leader in financial services innovation.
“Our partnership with BMO signals a desire from financial institutions to help build on new knowledge in financial services,” says Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Ryerson. “Through BMO’s expertise and the tailored resources that the DMZ offers entrepreneurs, the Next Big Idea in Fintech startups have received a valuable perspective on the Canadian financial industry.”
“This is a huge moment for our company. We have received invaluable experience from the Next Big Idea in Fintech program and we’re thrilled to embark on the next phase.” says Sultan Mehrabi, co-founder and CTO of Zensurance. “There is so much talent among the other startups and it’s really exciting that BMO and the DMZ are providing resources to help small businesses in the fintech space.”
Meet the first place winner:
About BMO Financial Group:
Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $692 billion as of July 31, 2016, and over 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
About the DMZ at Ryerson University:
The DMZ is one of Canada’s largest business incubators. The top-ranked university incubator in North America and third in the world, the DMZ is a hub of innovation, collaboration and commercialization. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ and Ryerson Futures Inc. – its affiliated accelerator program-have incubated and accelerated 262 startups, which have collectively raised more than $211 million in funding and fostered 2,476 jobs.
The DMZ is a leading business incubator for tech startups in Canada. They help startups build great businesses by connecting them with customers, capital, experts and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.
The DMZ is a partner in StartUp Here Toronto.