2nd Edition of FormFintech Career Fair — Connecting Fintech Startup’s with Talent!

Last Tuesday, November 27th, the 2nd edition of FormFintech Career Fair took place on the 3rd floor of a modest and cozy room at Notman House. 30 energized startups, corporations and community partners all hailing from the fintech ecosystem had booths manned by passionate founders, HR directors, and support staff - all of them fervently seeking to recruit the brightest and best.

Fintech, truncated for “Financial Technology”, describes new technology that seeks to improve and automate the delivery of financial services. The FormFintech Career Fair, a bold initiative spearheaded by FormFintech aims to create meaningful connections and collaborations between fintech startups and talent. According to Geraldine Holliday, the Head of Digital Product at FormFintech, she states that FormFintech is here to “help support, form and grow fintech enthusiasts whether they are students, working professionals, startups, entrepreneurs and aspiring to be entrepreneurs.”

FormFintech Career Fair participants learning about the various fintech’s at a packed room at Notman House.

FormFintech hosted the event with the support of its partners: Holt Accelerator, District 3 and Montreal NewTech. The purpose of the event is 3 fold: 1) via education and awareness to help young professionals discover and explore new opportunities in fintech 2) actively build a talent pipeline and recruitment 3) ensure that the growing fintech ecosystem chiefly, fintech start-ups are accessible to young professionals.

Ilias Benjelloun, President and Open Innovation Director of MTL NewTech explains the impetus behind the event: “Start-up’s especially early stage start-up’s often don’t have the resources, money or time for hiring. This is one of the core reasons why we felt it was imperative that non-profits like MTL Newtech and our partners collectively bring startups and corporations together where they can find young talent who are willing to join a start-up and take risks early on in their career.”

Left to Right: Andy Manel part of the Montreal NewTech Marketing Team and Ilias Benjelloun, President and Open Innvoation Director at Montreal NewTech

Jan Christopher Arp, Founder and Managing Partner at Holt Accelerator commented “it’s exciting to be here, the energy is palpable. We’ve had a phenomenal year at Holt, and the next step for us is to accelerate our growth. We need to scale, so we’re looking for a Head of Marketing, Head of Technology and Head of Programs.” Two star fintech startups from Holt’s portfolio also participated: Curu (app for automated credit scoring) and QuantumSense. Both startups are hoping to attract the right expertise as they grow.

Jan Christoper Arp, Founder and Managing Partner at Holt Accelerator having a discussion with an interested candidate about the potential job opportunities at Holt Accelerator.

A pre-event survey conducted during the registration process showed that the vast majority (80% +) of participants attending the event were young (20–45) aspiring financial undergraduate or graduate students and young professionals interested in connecting with innovative start-up’s working on technology that will disrupt the financial industry.

Participant Perspectives:

Near the Morgan Stanley booth I met Van Tran, a final year Finance student at Concordia University, ostensibly looking to secure a job in the financial sector before graduation next summer. She’d learned of the Fair through Concordia Fintech Society and was intrigued at the idea of building a career in the intersecting space of finance and technology. She declared, “I came here to discover the opportunities that lie in both the finance and technology space, my education up to this point has focused on just the traditional aspects of finance, but I’m interested in learning how technology can improve financial services. That’s something I can see myself doing in the future.” Inspired by the ingeniousness and creativity of the fintech startups at the event she’s determined to pursue graduate studies that integrates technology as part of the curriculum so that she’s better prepared for the careers of tomorrow. She expressed, “I feel right now, I have a gap in the technology aspects and that something I’d like to enhance.”

Participant Viktoria Khavtasi, co-founder of Kaira (building a personal debt management software solution), along with her team were recent winners of the Desjardins Co-operathon Open Innovation challenge in the finance track. She’s curious to figure out the next steps for Kair and was hopeful that attending the fair would connect her with the right resources to advance forward. Fortuitously, she and her team will be given the opportunity to further expand their learning through FormFintechs Ascension programs.“I’m here because I love meeting new people and learning new things, especially in the start-up ecosystem,” said Viktoria.

A fourth year Finance student from Concordia, Pheli Shari, is proactively searching for jobs before graduation next year. She had just come from another career fair and expressed that she was pleasantly surprised to observe that this wasn’t just another standard event where she’d hand out her resume and that would be the end of it. “I had no idea that there were so many startups in the fintech space, right here in Montreal. All the fintechs I talked to were super friendly, energetic and emphasized ‘cultural fit’ more than education and talent alone, all though that’s important too.”

The event saw an eclectic mixture of fintech startups, large corporations, accelerators and community partners.

Highlights from Fintechs:

Evolocity Financial Group, whose mission is to provide Canadian SMB’s with access to the working capital they need, quickly and easily is openly recruiting for account executive and sales representative positions. Lara Altunian, Human Resources Coordiantor at Evolocity says, at Evolocity our aim is to offer alternative and flexible lending that’ll assist SMB’s and start-up’s to achieve their goals. We’re here to bring awareness to the various flexible lending programs Evolocity offers”. She elaborates, for example, “if you have a restaurant business where the summer season is when you have most customers and during winter it tapers down, we offer flexible programs that will charge a business less on their repayment loan during the winter season vs. the summer season, thereby reducing their burden and enabling them to adjust their payments based on fluctuating seasonal revenue.”

Panel discusion downstairs at OSMO Cafe — provided tech fair participants and fintech companies the chance to have an intimate one-to-one dialogue on any questions they may have about the company, including the work culture, their hiring process, etc.

Large corporations like, Desjardins are actively hiring for both finance and technical roles. By the end of this year, Desjardins will be “fully active” in the new digital era of banking. At the start of 2019 they’re excitedly looking forward to rolling out their digital platforms for services that include: renewing your mortgage fully online, building your budget online, offering portfolio managment completely online, and more. As Andreanne Guillemette, Quality Analyst at Desjardins explains, “You don’t have to call your advisor or book a face to face appointment for services like renewing your mortgage or building a financial portfolio anymore, you can get the entire service online that’s quick and easily accessible to everyone. For instance, while testing this new program, we found that as counter intuitive as it may seem, that the average demographic age group that was renewing their mortgage online was 60+. We had expected that it would be millennial's, boy were we wrong, but it demonstrates that our solution is super friendly and easy to use.”

PaySafe, a global payment transaction startup with 250+ employees provides a diverse range of tailored solutions for payment methods for customers. They offer everything from: “digital wallets, pre-paid card payments to helping merchants with the ability to do installment payments and more.” Jimmy Giannians, Director of Software Development is recruiting for several technical support staff to join his team. “The engagement here has been great, there’s lot’s of people looking to join us for junior positions. Finding talent in senior positions is more challenging,” said Jimmy.

Flinks — a high potential fintech startup, empowers Canadian businesses by acting as the financial “link” between businesses and banking. They’re proud of their status as the “world’s greatest financial data aggregator for the Canadian market.” Human Resources intern, Alexandre Otis, explains their hiring process: “In an agile environment like [Flinks] it’s better to have an informal get together with a candidate. I like to ask questions like ‘what’s the craziest thing you’ve done outside of school?” The intent behind this type of questioning, is for candidates to reveal their wholesome, holistic selves. He elaborates, “for example, if the candidate says they previously co-founded a company or worked on a project, well this is interesting, it tells so much about the person, like they’re a risk taker, they’re courageous, they’re into continual learning, etc.”

Round table discussions — gave interested candidates the opportunity to learn more about a specific technology. There were several round table themes including: block chain, crypto currency, digital payments, business partnerships in fintechs, etc.

Croesus is a fintech that offers cutting-edge, easy to use wealth management solutions. They have a team of about 150 employees and their work environment is adeptly described as a “small family,” by Emily Boudreau, head of Human Resources. “I met a lot of interesting candidates that I’m looking forward to following up with. We’re looking for business analyst and project manager to join the Croesus family.”

Although, FormFintech Career Fair is done, these fintechs and corporations are actively hiring, so if you’re interested in an innovative career then reach out and get started on your journey in the fintech space!

Fintech’s and companies that participated: AppX, brain, Solium, Desjardins, Paysafe, Exagens, NuageM, Evolocity, Flinks, Mobeewave, Croesus, Shopify, Morgan Stanley, TickSmith, Hardbacon, MLG Blockchain, Ophelia, Lendr, Front Row Ventures, Mylo, QuantumSense, Curu, Carboscope, Nudge, SourceBot, Daswealth, Aquantix, GoodforChange, FDM Group, Holt Accelerator, District 3, FormFintech, Montreal NewTech

If you’re interested in knowing more about fintech and upcoming events and programs, go checkout FormFintech!

At Montreal NewTech, we’re dedicated to the success of Montreal startup entrepreneurs. We’re thrilled that we’re able to support FormFintech Career Fair and be a part of helping grow the fintech ecosystem in Montreal. To learn about the great opportunities for connection, upcoming programs and events, subscribe to our newsletter.