TORONTO – IBM will be joining the fintech hub at Toronto’s MaRS discovery district, becoming the first technology tenant in a space currently occupied by financial services companies.
The technology giant will move into the hub in the coming weeks, joining the likes of CIBC, Manulife and payment processor Moneris.
Adam Nanjee, who heads up the fintech cluster at MaRS, says the so-called C Suite is meant to act as a bridge between larger corporations and tech-savvy startups.
For companies, the fintech hub provides opportunities to partner with startups working on cutting-edge, potentially disruptive technologies.
These partnerships have the potential to lead to investments and acquisition offers – a huge benefit for the startups.
Nanjee says that having a mix of companies in the C Suite helps to foster innovation.
“I think bringing in some large technology powerhouses that dive not only into fintech but into other things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital health … really dovetails well with the MaRS mandate,” he said.
Looking for innovative new technologies to incorporate into their business mix can be a laborious task for corporations, he added.
That’s where MaRS steps in.
“Doing innovation or getting access to startups – you cannot do that off the side of your desk,” Nanjee said.
“That’s a full-time job … Our biggest mandate is validating and curating all of these startups so that we can make it easier for these corporations to work with them, to craft commercial partnerships, to potentially lead to investments or acquisitions.”
Allen Lalonde, senior executive at IBM Canada Research and Development Centre, says that joining the fintech hub will give the company a chance to work alongside startups on cognitive technologies – an emerging field that uses artificial intelligence to perform data analytics.
“We see this as a real opportunity for us to accelerate and expand our own research, our own assets,” Lalonde said.