Reintroducing Peggy Van De Plassche: an experienced technology, operations, strategy and finance executive.
The Canadian fintech market mirrors the U.S., with a mix of companies across payments, lending, and challenger banks. Canada’s banking sector is far more consolidated than the U.S. with just a few institutions dominating the consumer market. While Canadian consumers are only slightly more advanced in their use of fintech than their U.S. counterparts, the government and regulatory agencies are more forward-looking and are moving ahead with an ambitious open banking initiative.
A finance professional by trade, Peggy started working in technology 15 years ago, before fintech was a word. She is a founding partner at Roar VC, which invests in Canadian Data AI startups catering to the financial services industry. Prior to launching Roar VC, she was senior advisor at Portag3 Ventures as well as VP Innovation at CIBC. Peggy has also worked at CGI and BMO, founded 113 Ventures, invested in tech companies, and consulted for large organizations and startups.
How has Roar changed since our first conversation back in Dec 2018?
I was initially raising an early-stage VC fund focusing on fintech.
I turned the model on its head and I am now investing as an independent sponsor (first you find an acquisition target, then you raise the funds). I am looking for a mature profitable fintech company to acquire so I can bring my expertise to scale the company.
I also have a business partner, which makes everything more pleasant:-)
So, the Fintech angle and the scaling aspect stay the same. The main differences now come from how the capital is raised and the fact that the companies are mature and profitable.
Where do you see the biggest opportunity for Canada to grow in 2020?
Scaling and S&M (sales & marketing) is always a challenge in Canada. It is a rare skill set. So bringing the S&M playbooks from successful U.S. tech companies and applying it here is a great opportunity.
And also to sell outside of Canada; whether the companies are B2B or B2C plays, Canada is not big enough to build a behemoth!
Which tech company (outside of your portfolio companies) do you think will have the biggest impact on the financial services space and why?
I love companies who play in the B2B space in areas that are underserved like audit, risk, compliance. Mindbridge and Muinmos are two companies that will have a real impact on FIs via back-office functions.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to entrepreneurs pitching you, what would it be and why?
Always the same advice: line of sight towards profitable sales
Especially as the global economy is slowing down, many companies will need to be able to self-fund as capital will be more challenging to get.
Who are other VCs that inspire you and why?
Funds that inspire me are Vista Equity and Blackstone.
Vista for understanding that software companies can be great PE investment and their relentless focus on value création at their portcos… I would give a lot to see that secret playbook 🙂
Blackstone because they are super innovative, ambitious and have revolutionized the PE industry. Blackstone has been my career North Star for +20 years. I actually started my career in PE at a French porco owned by Blackstone, I was managing the value creation program for that entity. It gave me the bug!