3 min read • August 16, 2017 on BetaKit by Stefan Palios
Another day, another Canadian FinTech startup going international.
With Toronto on the verge of dominating FinTech, one of the major questions is if Canadian startups can play on the global FinTech field. Wealthsimple did this recently with their announced expansion into the UK, and now Plooto is working to join the pack.
The startup, which allows Canadian and US small businesses to send and collect payments and manage invoices, is now allowing these businesses to send payments around the world.
“Businesses operate in a global economy, yet one of the biggest pain points for small and medium businesses is the cost and hassle around international payments. Commerce is international, and businesses require a payments solution that helps them compete in today’s markets,” said Plooto founder Hamed Abassi.
Coming to Canada and “not speaking a word of English,” Abbasi has since built two companies, Plooto being his second.
He joined the FinTech world because, due to the success of his first company Vast Studios, he needed a better payments solution to help him conduct business, pay employees, and manage his expenses.
Plooto aims to accomplish that mission with every move it makes, and offering international payments is no different.
This puts Plooto in a very similar camp to Wealthsimple, whose founder Mike Katchen is a huge public advocate of founding companies that solve your own problems. I had the chance to attend a few talks by Katchen as Wealthsimple was growing, and he consistently talked about his — and his friends’ — need to have inexpensive, convenient investment vehicle that allowed you to “set it and forget it.”
That mantra still guides Wealthsimple today, and Abbasi’s personal story of needing innovative solutions for his own small business echo this sentiment.
“We took the opportunity to launch our technology to a broader market because SMBs are underserved everywhere,” said Abbasi. “As an entrepreneur myself, I saw first-hand that the payments solutions for the consumer market had far outpaced what was available for businesses. We wanted to bring the same level of innovation, convenience, and usability to payments for small and medium sized businesses.”
“Banks were not leading the charge to innovate with technology.”
For Plooto’s business, this means access to new markets and deepening relationships with current customers who may have been using alternative services for international payments.
“We saw that banks were not leading the charge to innovate with technology and services that helped small and medium businesses compete in a global landscape. Launching Plooto international payments was our way of filling that gap… and we expect this technology to be a major catalyst for our growth.”
It’s also an interesting play for Plooto, which is located in the OneEleven accelerator in Toronto, because their neighbours in the space are also their potential customers.
This is one small step in the broader ecosystem of Canadian startups, but marks an important focus to a global viewpoint over a strictly Canadian view.
“We are beginning to see how Canadian entrepreneurs and tech talent are leading in the FinTech industry. There’s [a lot more to be done] to serve the B2B FinTech market, and we are excited to be doing that work out of our home in Toronto.”
As Toronto sits on the verge of major growth as the fastest growing tech market in North America, the conversation has moved from if Toronto is able to produce great startups to if Toronto startups can compete on the global stage.
Taking it from that angle, a Canadian startup with 20 employees already looking global is a huge sign not only to the potential of Canadian FinTech but also as a signal to other growing startups that thinking global is not only reserved for when you’re huge; it’s a valid and valuable stepping stone on your growth trajectory.