Canadian fintech startups most likely have a saying that goes something like: “You either scale to be a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become part of the big five.”
TD Bank Group announced a first-of-its-kind program to help some of those young fintech startups navigate the often confusing world of patent applications. The bank unveiled a $30 million fintech investment pool, with $3.25 million going towards patent application funding and expertise for new ventures.
The goal of the investment is to help these young companies secure their intellectual rights speedily so they can build and scale their services, rather than worry about bureaucracy or stolen ideas. This move builds on TD’s goal to work with fintech disruptors and not shun their entry into the sector.
“The success of young, innovative start-ups is key to Canada’s future, and to TD’s,” said Colleen Johnston, a group head with TD. “Ultimately, the customer wins when banks and fintechs collaborate.”
The patent assistance is not only relegated to Canada, as TD will aid fintechs in patenting their products in the U.S. and elsewhere. The patents will always belong to the startups and be held in their name, meaning TD will not take any sort of ownership.
Building off this announcement, TD has also revealed an agreement with conversational AI provider Kasisto. This partnership will allow TD’s KAI banking platform to integrate with TD’s mobile app. Kasisto will give customers instant support an access to real-time spending insights through a process that is as seamless as messaging a friend.
This announcement adds to the notion that TD is open to welcoming startups into their world as long as it provides a better experience for their customers. Mobile is a huge part of the TD offering, as their app has won multiple awards in terms of design and ease of use.
Through the Kasisto-powered interface, customers can check account information, review transactions and monitor spending levels. They can even ask how much they spent last weekend or what their monthly coffee bill looks like.
“We are very excited about the work with TD and we are inspired by their long-term strategy for transforming customer experiences,” said Zor Gorelov, CEO and co-founder of Kasisto. “TD understands how to leverage the powerful combination of conversation and AI, and apply it to its customer-centric values and designs.”
As TD forms more relationships with fintech companies, relationships like the one with Kasisto will become more prevalent.