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蓬勃发展的加拿大金融科技产业

Fintech行业数据显示,去年加拿大fintech公司获得风险资本投资总额创20年来记录,而美国这样的主要fintech市场吸资能力却呈现下滑趋势。

在加拿大,fintech企业使国内创企面貌焕然一新,并吸引了专门投资年轻fintech公司的新一类风险资本基金。

美国国家风险资本机构所使用的招标书显示,加拿大fintech企业2016年风险资本融资达1.377亿美元,同比增长超过35%。5年前为2180万美元,2000年仅为730万美元。

而路透社汇编的数据则显示,该数额在2015到2016年间上升了近74%,总额达2.648亿加拿大元(约合1.9741亿美元),创2000年后最高记录。2000年,加拿大企业获得的风险投资曾经达到创纪录的3.179亿加拿大元。

鉴于有些投资者并没有透露完整信息、搜集信息的方法、追踪调查的公司数量、对于fintech和风险投资的定义,所以上述统计数字才会出现不同程度的差别。

这些数字与美国2016年42.7亿美元的fintech投资相比显然暗淡不少。但加拿大的总体趋势向好,而美国和英国市场却在下滑。

美国2016年投资额至少下降30%,英国近25%,新加坡则缩减65%。

CB Insights和KPMG提供的数据显示,导致美国和英国市场疲软的部分原因是美国大选及英脱欧后的市场不确定性以及单笔投资数额的缩小。

多伦多MaRS研究中心fintech小组负责人Adam Nanjee表示:

“从全球来看,加拿大是个相对较小的市场。但它却是建立创新公司最好的市场之一,因为我们是一个极好的实验市场并且有着极佳的金融服务基础设施。”

据安大略省政府数据显示,安大略省是除硅谷外科技企业最为集中的地方。这部分是由于在那建立公司成本较低,而且多伦多和沃特卢地区大学集中,为公司提供了许多工程师和开发人员。

焕然一新的创企格局吸引回了许多海外的加拿大人,比如在线投资创企Wealthsimple创始人Mike Katchen。这些人宁愿放弃大好前途以生活在一个更加舒适、竞争没那么惨烈的地方。

加拿大投资公司Impression Ventures创始人Christian Lassonde表示:

“(在硅谷)是没有忠诚可言的。你给某人开一大笔工资,他就会跟着你干6个月,然后就会跳到另一家公司。在硅谷要建立一个成功的公司实在是太难了。”

加利福尼亚Lightspeed Venture Partners公司正紧密关注加拿大fintech企业,寻找投资机会。该公司是Snapchat和Nest的早期投资者之一。Lightspeed目前尚未投资任何加拿大fintech企业。它正紧密关注包括League和FundThrough在内的创企。前者提供另类员工医疗计划,后者为小企业提供借贷。

Lightspeed合伙人Arif Janmohamed表示:

“我们在寻找那些以加拿大市场为根据又不局限于加拿大的公司。”

其他外国投资者同样也在密切关注,比如高盛2015年投资了多伦多公司Finance it,2016年投资了nanoPay。世上最大科技服务公司之一日本的NTT Data Corp和MaRS于11月宣布合作,帮助加拿大创企进军日本,同时NTT可以获得加拿大创企所开发的科技。

Wealthsimple的Katchen说,名声赫赫的创企如Shopify、Wattpad和 Hootsuite为“下一代成熟的创企登上国际舞台”提前铺平了道路。

Venture capital-backed investment in Canadian financial technology companies hit its highest level in almost two decades last year, even as the flow of funds into major fintech markets like the United States declined, according to sector data.

In Canada, fintech is revitalizing the startup scene and has attracted a new crop of Canadian venture capital funds looking to invest specifically in young fintech companies.

According to PitchBook, used by the U.S.-based National Venture Capital Association, venture capital financing in Canadian fintech was $137.7 million in 2016, up more than 35 percent on the year. Five years ago, it was $21.8 million and in 2000 it was $7.3 million.

Figures compiled by Thomson Reuters show a rise of nearly 74 percent from 2015 to 2016, to C$264.8 million ($197.41 million), its highest level since 2000, when venture capital investment in Canadian financial technology firms reached C$317.9 million.

The data vary as some investors do not disclose full information, while methodologies can differ on how the information is collected, how many companies are tracked, what is considered fintech and what constitutes a venture deal.

The figures pale in comparison to the United States, where investments reached $4.27 billion in 2016. But the trend in Canada is on the rise, compared with a decline in the U.S. and Britain.

Investments declined at least 30 percent in the U.S. in 2016, while in the UK they fell nearly 25 percent and Singaporean fintech investment sank 65 percent.

Weaker activity in the U.S. and UK was partly due to market uncertainty around the U.S. election and the Brexit vote in the UK to leave the European Union, as well as smaller deal sizes, according to data provider CBInsights and KPMG.

“From a global stage, Canada is a relatively small market,” said Adam Nanjee, who heads the fintech group in Toronto’s MaRS research hub.

“But it’s one of the best markets to build a company around innovation because we have a great test market, great infrastructure for financial services.”

The province of Ontario has among the highest concentrations of tech firms outside Silicon Valley, according to the provincial government, thanks in part to cheaper costs and the cluster of Toronto and Waterloo area universities producing engineers and developers.

The re-invigorated startup community lured home Canadians – such as the founder of online investment startup Wealthsimple, Mike Katchen – keen to trade promising careers for a more supportive and less cut-throat environment.

“There’s no loyalty whatsoever (in Silicon Valley). You’re going to overpay for somebody, they’re going to stay with you for six months and they leave for the next gig,” said Christian Lassonde, founder of Canadian-based investor Impression Ventures.

“Trying to build a successful company in the Valley has actually gotten too hard.”

California-based Lightspeed Venture Partners, early investors in Snapchat and Nest, has been tracking Canadian fintechs for potential investments.

Lightspeed, which has yet to invest in fintech in Canada, is monitoring startups including League, which offers alternative employee health plans, and FundThrough, a lending service for small businesses.

“What we look for are companies … that may start with the Canadian economy, but are thinking beyond Canada,” said Lightspeed partner Arif Janmohamed.

Other foreign players are also taking note. Goldman Sachs invested in Toronto-based Finance it in 2015 and nanoPay in 2016, for example. Meanwhile, Japan’s NTT Data Corp, one of the world’s largest technology services companies, and MaRS announced a partnership in November to help Canadian startups expand into Japan and give NTT access to?technology being developed by Canadian startups.

Maturing big-name startups such as Shopify, Wattpad, and Hootsuite helped pave the way, said Wealthsimple’s Katchen, for the next “cohort of companies that are coming of age on the international stage.”


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