Pourquoi le IFH Lab?
Over two years of meeting and speaking with impact-driven founders in fintech led us to believe there was an important gap in the ecosystem for these startups.
We learned about the unique demands of balancing profit with purpose, finding investors who share your vision, and serving customers who have been left out of the financial mainstream. Too often, founders found themselves being told they had to choose: impact or growth. We saw so much potential for these innovators using technology to solve for accessibility, affordability, and inclusion in Canadian financial services; but just like the companies themselves, any program built to help them grow and scale needed to be designed with impact AND growth as its foundational principles.
The IFH Lab is designed to close these gaps. The program is completely free for startups, we take no equity and ask for a commitment of just 6 hours a month. Through the program, startups receive:
→ One-on-one support delivered by hand-picked and world-class industry-specific experts who are mission-aligned, experienced, and in a position to make things happen.
→ Flexible programming that adapts and adjusts to your team’s needs to help you reach your goals and address your real pain points.
→ Connection to a growing community of mission-driven startups building a better financial system through tech innovation.
Selected startups will receive:
Our cohort in numbers
Amassé en capital
Click here to discover our alumni in the news
What we are looking for
We’re seeking startups that are using technology to help better the financial lives of Canadians.
Millions of Canadians are struggling to pay for today, save for tomorrow, and plan for the unexpected. Over 50% of Canadians spend more than or equal to their income every month. 1/3rd aren’t able to pay all their bills on time and in full. Fintech can fill the gap.
Qu'il s'agisse d'offrir de nouveaux produits financiers aux consommateurs ou de résoudre les obstacles persistants à l'inclusion et à l'accessibilité dans le secteur financier actuel, nous recherchons des idées qui aident les Canadien.ne.s à renforcer leur santé financière et leur résilience.
You are an early-stage fintech company with a demonstrated commitment to improving the financial lives of Canadians with…
- Au moins un.e employé.e à temps plein
- Un produit commercialisé avec certains clients (clients tests/pilotes inclus)
- Une incorporation au Canada ou l'intention de se constituer une société au Canada d'ici la fin de la cohorte
- Can commit to full participation in the program sessions
The 2023 program will happen in a hybrid model:
- 2 day in-person orientation in Toronto at the end of July and 2 day in-person intensive and public cohort launch party in September
- 2 hours of mandatory virtual programming per month (workshops, panel discussions or fireside chats)
- 1 industry expert speed-dating event per month (2 hrs)
- Two one-on-one office hours with a dedicated industry advisor on the topics of: product-market fit (August), business model & financials (September), product & tech (October), traction & customer acquisition (November)
- In-person Demo Day in Montreal in November
What our alumni are saying
Ready to get started?
Don’t see your question? Reach out to us in the form below for a chat!
The program runs from July through November 2023. Applications close June 12th with interviews taking place mid-June.
The program is intended to offer a flexible time commitment to ensure it does not interfere with you running and building your business.
The program is 4 months in length, with a total of about 2 hours of mandatory sessions or meetings a month. Startups have the option to participate in as many additional optional sessions as they want. There will be a 2-day in-person orientation in Toronto and an in-person Demo Day in Montreal.
Founders are encouraged to involve other members of their team as appropriate in the programming to allow them to get the most out of the program without creating too significant a time commitment.
The bulk of the program is delivered virtually. There will be a 2-day in-person kickoff in Toronto at the end of July, and an in-person Demo Day at the beginning of November that will take place in Montreal. If this model may limit you from applying, please reach out to ifhl[email protected] for a chat so we can determine your needs!
There is no fee to participate in the program and we do not take any equity. Travel expenses for the selected teams who choose to participate in the in-person kick-off and Demo Day will be reimbursed (there is a cap that will be put in place).
You can still apply if you are not incorporated as long as you can provide a clear timeline for incorporation by the end of the program. Our team and mentors can provide guidance on the incorporation process!
You’re right for the IFH Lab if you’re building a solution that: aims to improve the financial health and resilience of Canadians; builds your customer’s financial literacy skillset; makes financial products or services more broadly accessible and appropriate for most Canadians; better meets the needs of an underserved community or group that experiences discrimination in accessing financial services.
You should also have at least one team member who is either currently full-time or intends to go full-time in the near future. You should have some sort of minimum viable product that is ready to be tested with users.
Our program is unique in its focus on mission-driven fintech founders. It is not intended to be Entrepreneurship-101, but is instead focused on providing founders with what they need to build and scale a fintech business in Canada.
As part of the program, you will get access to:
- 200+ mission-aligned industry experts representing investors, larger fintechs, financial institutions, nonprofits, regulators, and more.
- Monthly optional fireside chats focused on capacity and knowledge building from experts on topics such as go-to-market strategy, digital marketing, product management, startup financing, and more.
- A peer network of 6- 8 impact-driven founders and an alumni network of 20 startups that have already added 70+ jobs, raised over $54 million, and helped 100,000+ Canadians since participating in the program.
- An assigned Program Mentor who will assist you in setting, refining, and tracking to 4-month goals.
- Over $100,000 in service provider credits from partners such as Amazon AWS, IBM, Plaid, Zendesk, Helcim, and more.
- Cash prizes available for the cohort at the Demo Day.
Our alumni consistently identify how valuable the connections made throughout the program have been. As a result of the program, our startups have found their first paying customers, onboarded IFH Lab mentors as official advisors, formed partnerships with other startups in their cohorts, and raised capital.
As a national-wide program, all orientation, peer sessions and workshops sessions will be carried out in English. You can however notify your preferences for French communications and the like upon selection into the program.