Skip to main content

National Bank partners with Caisse, Desjardins and Sun Life to back Montreal fintech startup Flinks

Several of Quebec’s most influential financial institutions have teamed up to invest in a financial-technology startup aiming to bridge the gap between established banks and digital upstarts.

Montreal-based Flinks has raised a modest $1.75-million in new funding, but it is the pedigree of its main backers that stands out. Leading the way are National Bank of Canada, the country’s sixth-largest lender, and Luge Capital, a new Canadian venture-capital fund supported, in turn, by financial sector heavyweights including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Desjardins Group.

Flinks managers are: (left to right) FrŽederick Lavoie, COO; Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf, CEO; Julien DubeŽ-Cousineau, CTO.

submitted photo

Founded only two years ago, Flinks’ core business is a platform that allows financial technology companies − “fintechs” − and other software providers to connect to financial institutions and tap their customer data securely. Flinks already has agreements with Canada’s six biggest banks, Desjardins and 13 other financial firms to access and share customer data. And it counts online roboadviser Wealthsimple and Alberta’s government-owned bank, ATB Financial, among its 150-plus clients.

Story continues below advertisement

Related: Fintech VC fund Luge Capital opens with $75-million backing from Caisse, other Quebec institutions

Opinion: We’ve got to maximize opportunities and minimize risks in fintech

“For Flinks, doing this round was really about getting the right partners around the table,” chief executive officer Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf said.

This is the first investment by Luge, which launched in June after raising $75-million from the Caisse and Desjardins, as well as Sun Life Financial Inc., the FTQ Solidarity Fund and La Capitale. Meanwhile, National Bank has now invested a total of $20-million in nine fintechs.

Four other firms also participated in the Flinks funding round: Innostart Capital, Panache, iNovia Capital and Conconi Growth Partners.

By serving as a trusted link to exchange client data, Flinks hopes to help smooth the way toward open banking − a movement to make it easier for customers to choose to share their financial information with fintechs, but also potentially to switch banks or lenders, which could spur new competition in financial services.

For now, the powerful group backing Flinks is dipping a cautious toe into open banking, which shows signs of catching on in Europe but has gained less traction in Canada. “This is definitely a move in that direction,” said Philippe Daoust, National Bank’s managing director, venture. “And our belief at National Bank is that such an opening is going to happen in Canada. It’s just a question of timing.”

Story continues below advertisement

With its funding, Flinks is developing a new product by applying artificial intelligence to anonymous client data drawn from financial institutions and analyzing a customer’s financial behaviour to gauge whether they’re creditworthy − a potential competitor to traditional credit scores.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter