Neo Financial’s fast-tracked journey to unicorn status in fintech was helped by Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) two years ago through support from business accelerator Harvest Builders.
Calgary-based Neo was launched in 2019 and achieved a $1 billion unicorn valuation in May after it raised $185 million in a Series C round of funding.
Neo is one of the promising companies to emerge from the OCIF-backed business accelerator Harvest Builders, which will receive up to $4 million over three years to create and scale local companies.
“Neo Financial is a game-changer in Canada’s financial services sector and a great example of how companies can grow to unicorn level without having to leave Calgary,” said Brad Parry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Economic Development.
“It’s another sign of the maturation of our tech ecosystem and reinforces the value of the support from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund for organizations like Harvest Builders that help companies like Neo Financial scale successfully.”
Neo continues to attract and retain hundreds of highly skilled workers in Calgary. It now has more than 650 people working between its offices in Calgary and Winnipeg and is actively recruiting new talent, with more than 100 positions open.
Neo has also absorbed 110,000 square feet of Calgary's downtown office space in two buildings.
A catalyst for economic diversification, OCIF, a City of Calgary initiative, invests in transformative organizations that spur economic development, job creation and ecosystem development.
Neo is the city’s fifth unicorn in the last two-and-a-half years and joins a growing roster of homegrown billion-dollar tech companies across diverse sectors, including Shareworks by Morgan Stanley (previously Solium Capital), Enverus Intelligence Research Inc. (RS Energy Group), Parvus Therapeutics and Benevity.
“It really is a validation for the tech ecosystem here that we are building in Calgary,” Neo co-founder and chief executive officer Andrew Chau in an interview with the Calgary Herald.
Neo’s unicorn milestone is representative of the new wave of ambitious local companies looking to do what Calgarians have always done: embrace innovation and transform business to solve global challenges. Inspired by calls to modernize financial services for Canadians, Neo has created an accessible suite of banking solutions.
This fintech success story aligns with Calgary’s goal to be a home to bright minds in the pressure-tested economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy, with reskilling, retention and attraction of talent and being a welcoming city where everyone can grow their careers in diverse sectors as top priorities.
Calgary companies saw record-breaking venture capital investment in 2021. Almost 90 per cent of investment activity in Alberta came from Calgary companies totaling $500 million.
For more information on working in Calgary’s tech innovation ecosystem, visit Live Tech, Love Life. Visit the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund page for more information on the City’s investments to drive innovation and spur transformative economic development in Calgary.