Portag3 Ventures with Paul Desmarais III (Chairman) | E40

Changing the world of finance. One fintech investment at a time.


During the 40th episode of the Fintech Impact podcast, Jason Pereira, award-winning financial planner, university lecturer, writer, sits with Paul Desmarais III, Chairman of Portag3 Ventures. They discuss the new technology within fintech, how Portag3 is making a difference, and how technology bridges gaps and addresses the pain points of the industry.

Show Notes:

● 1:00—Introduction of guest Paul Desmarais III, Chairman of Portag3 Ventures.

● 1:23— Portag3 is one of the world ́s leading financial services innovation investment funds. Portag3 invests in fintech globally. They focus on direct to consumer and also some B2B markets. Their three vertical focuses are Insure-tech, personal finance, and risk management

● 1:55—Financial advising is making a huge impact on Canadians future. Advised clients fair much better than the unadvised, but the majority of Canadians go unadvised.

● 3:20—Portag3 is focused on building companies that address the pain points in the financial space.

● 4:55—In a  ̈choose-what-you-pay-your-advisor ̈ model, the customer saves money and wins.

● 5:20—It is hard for traditional businesses to incubate from external disruption.

● 6:00—Power Financial owns the general partnership of Portag3.

● 6:34—80% of Canadian assets are controlled by the bank.

● 7:28—B2B platform is empowering advisors to serve smaller clients in a more effective way.

● 8:43—You have got to be on-top of the technology or else you will be crushed by the competition. You must adapt.

● 10:30—Borrowell was started as a B2C lending platform. If you have a low credit score, you can go there to get coaching on your credit score.

● 11:10—Another example of a technology tool that is making a difference is the online mortgage tool. It allows people to get mortgages completely online, and it is a very transparent system.

● 12:10—Portag3 empowers companies by understanding their pain points and investing in solutions to overcome them.

● 14:18—The area of payment in Canada is falling behind other countries very quickly. Does the system make sense? This could be an area of opportunity for fintech.

● 15:41—Portag3 has invested in Blockchain, sponsoring a company called EOS. We believe there is an opportunity there, but it is a matter of when. Blockchain is still highly speculative.

● 17:00—When a lot of people migrate to a certain system, you get a network effect. If that happens with blockchain, companies need to be cautiously ready for the switch.

● 19:50—We need better policy for the banks and the companies involved.

● 20:40— Portag3 has made over 30 investments in fintech.

● 21:26—Through Coho, you can open an account. This is the first example of how collaboration is on horizon in fintech.

● 22:26—Some banks no longer have a brick and mortar foundation allowing them to partner and grow outside of their core geography.

● 24:17—In this new virtually based model, there is a huge opportunity to go after new players through collaborating with fintech.

● 24:53—Fintech is a generational investment opportunity.

● 25:13—Changes in technology are easier to implement today.

● 26:20—Being an entrepreneur today is much cheaper than it used to be.

● 26:40—Regulators care about the consumers and want them to be advised.

● 28:00—M&A is on the horizon for fintech.

● 29:00—Paul ́s biggest wish is to have modern back-office systems in every business that we have.

● 29:47—The people are what gets Paul motivated. He wants to make a positive impact on their lives.

3 Key Points:

1. Fintech is allowing more people to have access to financial services. Technology allows

financial companies to extend their reach.

2. Keeping-up with current financial technology helps companies adapt and avoid getting

eaten by competitors.

3. Financial technology is disrupting, growing, and making positive impacts on the industry.

Tweetable Quotes:

- “We are simply growing the size of the population that is being advised. We are not

necessarily disrupting it in an aggressive way.” –Paul.

- “We come in as value-adding investors.” – Paul.

- “We believe aggregation is the future of financial planning.” – Paul.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Fintech Impact

  • Itunes to access the podcast

  • Refer to Jason Pereira ́s Linkedin for Information about the Fintech events

  • Woodgate Financial