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Vancouver fintech FI.SPAN raises $4m, eyes international expansion

Company plans to double Vancouver workforce and expand into U.K. and Australia

Further international expansion and a growing workforce are in the mix for a Vancouver-based financial technology startup that’s just raised $4 million in equity financing.

FI.SPAN announced the close of its latest funding round December 12, bringing its total funding to more than $6 million.

The B.C. fintech specializes in simplifying transactions between banks and businesses, which still require some interactions to be conducted through old-school methods such as fax machines.

CEO Lisa Shields said an accountant from the 1980s who’s suddenly thrust into a time machine wouldn’t be out of their element at all if they landed in a modern office.

“What FI.SPAN aims to do is bring to banks the same capability to interconnect their business, products and services with key back-office business applications. Namely accounting systems and ERP [enterprise resource planning],” she said.

“We make banks as interconnected as other business applications.”

While FI.SPAN already has offices in Canada and the U.S, Shields said the company decided this past summer to expand to the U.K. and Australia.

“Brexit, to be honest, for my particular business doesn’t affect us that much and the market is massive in the U.K.,” she said, adding independent money services businesses are being harder hit by the Brits’ efforts to leave the European Union.

“Because we sell to banks, we’re less impacted by Brexit.”

The CEO expects the Vancouver office to double in the next 12-18 months, and it will be simultaneously building its teams in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

The current roster features 20 workers between its Vancouver and New York City offices.

Shields co-founded FI.SPAN in 2016 after departing from Hyperwallet Systems Inc., another Vancouver-founded fintech that she founded.

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced in June it was acquiring Hyperwallet for US$400 million.

“Because of our historical north-south focus rather than servicing companies in Toronto and the Canadian market, companies in Vancouver are born with the idea that the U.S. is their first market,” said Shields.

“And now we’ve got one generation of successes behind us … and I think we have a quiet confidence and enough experience in market to start to see the next generation of companies.”

The funding round was led by BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund and included participation from FinTop Capital, VFF, Panache Ventures and other undisclosed investors.

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For more on what Brexit could mean for Canadian companies, listen to the BIV Today podcast featuring Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London: