Toronto-based Dream Payments has secured a $1.5 million investment from the state of Connecticut through Connecticut Innovations, which supports Connecticut-based companies as they scale.
Dream Payments snagged the funding through CI’s $5 million VentureClash competition in October, which provides early-stage companies with the opportunity to grow their businesses in Connecticut. This year’s competition attracted 200 applicants, with Dream Payments winning the top $1.5 million investment prize.
“CI is excited to close this deal with the top investment award winner of VentureClash,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “This company has a strong leadership team and we look forward to supporting the company’s expansion in the U.S. market.”
“The US market is experiencing a major shift toward mobile commerce, creating dramatic demand for Dream Payments’ platform,” said Brent Ho-Young, CEO of Dream Payments. With the funding, Dream Payments plans to open a 10-person Connecticut office for US expansion.
Ho-Young said that Connecticut is an ideal location to launch its US operations thanks to its proximity to Toronto.
“As Dream is a mobile payment network that partners with leading financial institutions, Connecticut would put us in close proximity on the east coast with our key current partners, as well as countless other financial institutions that we intend to collaborate with,” Ho-Young said about the benefits of setting up shop in Connecticut.
“Connecticut would provide Dream with access to a vast labor pool of financial services and software engineering university graduates and experienced professionals. Talent such as this is extremely difficult to find and Connecticut would be an exceptional area to recruit from and house such professionals.”
Ho-Young said that US-based VCs are waking up to the fact that many promising FinTechs are launching in Canada — though McCooe added that this interest in FinTech is a global trend.
“The massive disruption in the financial system is due to the introduction of mobile and cloud computing into a rickety antiquated financial infrastructure makes for an attractive investment thesis for VCs,” said McCooe. “With respect to Canada, the favourable exchange rates create an attractive arbitrage opportunity for VCs. And investing in Canada, due to legislative changes over the years, is virtually the same for us as investing anywhere in the US.”
McCoee said that CI plans to invest about USD $5 million in the Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver markets.
“The US is currently migrating to both EMV / CHIP payment cards and contactless payments. Dream provides a turnkey mobile point of sale solutions and powers a payment network that enables merchants to accept these new forms of payments,” said Ho-Young. “US-based merchants and financial institutions are now actively seeking the solutions that Dream provides. With the demand there, as well as the financial support that we have obtained from our current investors and Connecticut Innovations, the timing couldn’t be better for Dream to expand to the US.”