The financial services industry which has been historically highly averse to change has been going through a period of significant transformation and innovation. It makes sense that this sector finally took the digital leap because these institutions have a considerable advantage over other industries.
Financial institutions have a wider reach and have more intimate knowledge of their customers than anyone else. This has created an opportunity for both startups and traditional firms to innovate and enhance the following:
- Customer interactions
- Investment models
- User experiences (UX), and
- Their own internal transformations
At its most basic level, startups and traditional financial services firms alike are trying to make conversations about personal finances a comfortable experience. But at a higher level, they’re leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning (DL).
We picked out the top four companies that became the finalists of the annual Canadian Innovation Awards in the Financial Services category for their outstanding innovations.
Anyone who’s worked in an indie studio or in a startup knows that benefits and health insurance can become a huge headache. This is because the whole system has grown to be overly bureaucratic providing little support to the end-user.
The Canadian startup League attempts to create customer experiences that are far more friendly when it comes to dealing with your business’ health insurance. They’re essentially ushering in a new era by solving this problem and offering pain-free health-related benefits for the modern workforce.
Since its inception in 2014, the company has focused on simplifying and improving health benefits for employers, administrators, employees, and providers. It also makes it easy for users to prioritize their health in a personalized and digital manner that they’ve grown accustomed to.
This means that League’s offering enables the end-user to truly customize their individual health plan to fit all kinds of budgets and people.
In the modern workplace, most companies don’t employ their own full-time team of bookkeepers. Rather, they take advantage of accounting software that’s often void of critical elements including human interaction.
Bench, founded in 2012, strives to resolve this problem by offering great software that’s supported by a reliable team of people. As the product is supplemented by a service that’s fast, hands-off, and cost-effective, small business owners can now focus on generating revenue knowing that they’re always tax-ready.
Although they have only been around for approximately 6 years, Bench is already the largest bookkeeping service in North America combining both human-powered services and automated systems.
Wave is a Canadian startup that’s focused on offering financial services for small and micro businesses around the world. The company, founded in 2010, now serves over three million customers across the planet.
Wave offers the following services:
- Business payments (invoices)
- Cash flow (payments)
- Capital (lending)
- Employee money (payroll)
- Tax and insight (accounting)
As a bootstrap startup, the company first emerged offering a free accounting software that was highly user-friendly. Since then, they’ve evolved considerably to provide an extensive suite of tools and services.
Wave also partnered with the likes of RBC and the startup recently secured $24 million in new funding. This suggests that we’re about to see another “wave” innovation coming out of Canada in the months to come (and the pun was totally intended!).
If you have ever been self-employed like I have, you will relate to the pain of effectively managing hundreds of receipts that are collected during the course of a year. For that reason, I have to talk about the final startup on our list even though I’ve written about them before.
When it comes to tax season, getting your receipts in order can also add to the pain. This is the primary reason why so many others have tried to find a simple and effective solution to this whole process.
However, no one has done it better than Sensibill!
Sensibill is highly user-friendly, intuitive, and built with DL AI that makes this whole experience a breeze. Having secured $17.3 million in Series A funding, you can expect the company to further expand their AI technology over the next few years.
Beyond storing receipts, the company also strives to help clients develop an intimate understanding of their spending patterns. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms and is reputed to be both highly secure and customizable. However, users will have also experience AI-driven promotional offers that are based on customer insights.
You can vote for your favorites here, but you have to do it before February 2nd. Winners will be announced on February 22nd at the live gala at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.