MaRS Discovery District announced that Roy Kao has been appointed permanent Managing Director of MaRS Fintech.

Roy has been interim leader for the group since November of 2018, and was previously a Senior Advisor on the team.

“Roy has shown exceptional leadership since joining MaRS, and he has earned the respect of the fintech community after building trusted relationships with our top entrepreneurs and ventures, so I’m thrilled that he will become our new managing director,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District.

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“Roy has over 20 years of experience in various leadership roles in fintech, managing consultancy and other entrepreneurial pursuits around the world. Because of this, I’m confident that he will make an impressive contribution to the Canadian fintech ecosystem and that he will help our ventures grow and prosper.”

Roy has been interim
leader for the group since November of 2018.

Prior to joining MaRS, Roy was the founding Chief Technology Officer at Lendified, a respected small business lending fintech company, and was a co-founder of Alpha Insights, a data and analytics strategy consultancy for the financial services industry. Previously, Roy was CEO of Bentley & Co. Limited in New York City and Shanghai, and has held management and consulting positions at companies including BCE Emergis and Accenture. “Canada’s fintech ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and so I’m excited for this next chapter at MaRS,” said Roy.

“Raising the global profile of Canadian fintech, helping our startups solve complicated business and technology challenges, and helping our ventures connect and collaborate with corporates and the financial industry will be my main areas of focus.”

Roy is a native Mandarin Chinese and English speaker, and graduated with an honours degree in computer science and economics from the University of Toronto.

MaRS Fintech works with financial institutions including CIBC, Manulife, Moneris and PayPal, as well as nearly 400 startups, developing solutions in key areas that are driving fintech innovation:

  • Artificial intelligence, data and analytics: Machine learning tools to better engage with customers and increase revenue, as well as address open data and open banking challenges
  • Alternative finance: New lending, credit, mortgage and investment tools for businesses and consumers
  • Cybersecurity: Identity verification and safe transaction tools to protect personal information
  • Insurtech and Regtech: Technologies that are revolutionizing on-demand insurance and compliance/regulatory challenges
  • Marketplaces: Virtual spaces convening multiple brands for streamlined online shopping
  • Online and mobile retail: Digital and online shopping solutions for on-the-go purchases
  • Payments: Cloud-based platforms and solutions that enable fast, secure payments
  • Blockchain: Distributed ledger technologies, digital assets and cryptocurrencies