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There's no shortage of people raving about fintech in Toronto, and there's no doubt that being in this fintech cluster has allowed us to raise our profile.
It's Monday morning. It was an exciting weekend, but now it's time to prepare for the busy day ahead. You press the button on that fancy new coffee maker you purchased just over a month ago, but nothing happens. No lights. No sound. No coffee! You need to take it back to the store. Now all you need to do is find the receipt. You're sure you put it in your wallet…or was it the filing cabinet…maybe the shoebox? This isn't a good start to your Monday.
In 2016, Sensibill Inc. launched a mobile app that gives consumers and businesses a way to store, manage and view their receipts through their bank accounts. With Sensibill's technology, users simply click on a purchase transaction line item on their online bank statement to call up the corresponding receipt.
"Our app allows bank customers to get their receipts in a few different ways," explains Corey Gross, CEO of Sensibill, which he co-founded in May 2013. "They can take a picture of their receipt and the app will extract and digitize the information so they can do various things like expense specific items, as well as track returns and warranty information. They can also flow receipts from online purchases right into their bank account."
Being an Ontario company was, and continues to be, key to Sensibill's success, says Mr. Gross. The province is the country's financial services capital, with Toronto ranked as the second largest financial services hub in North America.
"A lot of the banks we work with are right around the corner from us," says Mr. Gross. "That's important because working with banks takes time – you need to develop a real partnership based on transparency." To date, Scotiabank and TD have rolled out the service and two other Canadian banks are expected to follow suit this year.
Sensibill's success in building partnerships with Canada's largest banks – which all operate on a global scale – has cemented the company's prospects in the country and around the world, and strengthened their credibility with other potential clients and partners, says Mr. Gross.
"If I have a product that can meet the high standards of Canadian banks, then I can sell it internationally," he says. "The credibility of having worked with them is a real advantage."
Another big advantage for Sensibill? Toronto's high concentration of financial firms and leading-edge information technology companies – a unique combination that has turned the city into one of the world's most vibrant fintech hubs.
Growing Sensibill within Ontario's fintech centre gave Mr. Gross and his team access to other fintech players who shared their insights and experiences. It also gave them the advantage of being part of a robust ecosystem that included business incubators, accelerators and funding sources.
Sensibill's location has also made it easier for the company to attract and retain the best talent. Engineering and computer science programs at renowned Ontario schools such as Ryerson University, University of Toronto and University of Waterloo produce plenty of high-calibre graduates, says Mr. Gross.
With Sensibill's technology, receipt-stuffed shoeboxes and wallets could soon be a thing of the past. Beyond banks, the company is also looking to offer its app through loyalty companies, point-of-sale technology vendors, and retailers. A number of the major players in these markets are headquartered in Ontario, notes Mr. Gross.
Sensibill continues to grow its operations. From a two-person team operating out of Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone (DMZ) incubator, Sensibill has now evolved into a dynamic company of 45 employees with strategic partners in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
February 1, 2017
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All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. Information is accurate at the time of publication.