MaRS team embarks on mission to Asia

Visit will create opportunities and open doors for ventures in fintech, legal innovation, health and education

TORONTO, November 6, 2015 — MaRS Discovery District’s CEO and a team of executives are traveling to Asia with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to expand existing relationships and form new partnerships with innovation hubs across the region.

This mission will build on the success of Premier Wynne’s first mission to China in 2014 that saw Ontario secure investment projects and new partnerships, including MaRS’ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shanghai Technology Innovation Center last year.

In Hong Kong, MaRS will sign a MoU with Cyberport, a digital innovation hub with a community of over 600 members. As part of the partnership, Cyberport and MaRS will work to identify business acceleration opportunities for ventures from both hubs, help facilitate relationships with the financial industry in Canada and Hong Kong, and enable collaboration on joint entrepreneurship programs focused on financial technology (fintech), wearables, big data and payment technologies. As an international finance centre with a robust startup ecosystem, Hong Kong is an ideal destination for MaRS’ fintech companies.

In Shanghai, MaRS will visit the Shanghai Technology Innovation Center (STIC), the oldest incubator in China. MaRS established a partnership with the incubator in 2014 to create a landing pad for Canadian companies in the China market. STIC currently supports 110 startups that have 10-20 employees each. They offer office space for startups and support tech-based companies with the goal of building up the innovation ecosystem. Education technology (edtech) venture Storyvalues will be the first Canadian company to stay in the incubation centre, which is called “the nursery.”

In Singapore, MaRS’ Financial Technology Cluster (“MaRS FinTech”) will sign an agreement with The Singapore FinTech Consortium, a platform that facilitates collaboration between all market participants and stakeholders in the Singapore and Southeast Asia fintech ecosystem. This partnership will foster collaboration on talent development, business networks and joint programs, and establish soft landing sites for startups in Singapore and Toronto. It will provide a bridge, connecting Canadian and Singaporean entrepreneurs, increasing cross-border interactions and work opportunities.


“A global network is essential for the success of our startups, which are looking to scale and grow,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District. “These partnerships will provide great opportunities for high-potential Canadian companies to collaborate with international institutions and investors.”

“We are delighted to establish a long-term strategic partnership with MaRS, a renowned urban innovation hub,” said Herman Lam, CEO, Cyberport. “Like MaRS’ financial technology cluster, fintech is also one of Cyberport’s key focus areas with local and overseas startups striving to achieve success and expand globally. With Hong Kong being an international financial centre, the fintech community definitely has the advantage of being able to join forces with like-minded talents and leverage the wealth of financial knowledge here. Through our collaboration with MaRS and our global network, these entrepreneurs can leap onto the world stage armed with deeper insight into the fintech market and ample business opportunities.”

“There is significant interest among Chinese investors to invest in international startups,” said Song Yang, Deputy Director, Shanghai Technology Innovation Center. “MaRS is well positioned to introduce innovative companies to the Chinese market, and serve as a bridge to Chinese investors and companies looking to expand in the North American market.”

“Our collaboration with Cyberport and The Singapore FinTech Consortium further expands MaRS FinTech’s international footprint to provide our startups and corporate partners with access to venture capital, financial institutions and technology connections in Hong Kong and Singapore’s thriving FinTech communities,” said Adam Nanjee, Head, MaRS FinTech.

“In line with the Consortium’s mission, this partnership enhances support for enterprises to develop innovations, and stimulates investment and growth within the industry,” said Gerben Visser, Co-Founder and Director, The Singapore FinTech Consortium.

About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is the one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports promising young ventures tackling key societal challenges in the health, cleantech and ICT sectors. In the last three years, these ventures have raised $1.3 billion in capital and earned $640 million in revenue. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.

About MaRS FinTech Cluster
MaRS’ Financial Technology (FinTech) Cluster connects the financial services sector with startups developing next generation technology in emerging payments, financial services, peer-to-peer transactions, alternative lending and crypto-currencies.

About Cyberport
Cyberport is a creative digital cluster with over 600 community members. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. With a vision to establish itself as a leading information and communications technology (ICT) hub in the Asia-Pacific region, Cyberport is committed to facilitating the local economy by nurturing ICT industry start-ups and entrepreneurs, driving collaboration to pool resources and create business opportunities, and accelerating ICT adoption through strategic initiatives and partnerships. Equipped with an array of state-of-the-art ICT facilities and a cutting-edge broadband network, the Cyberport community is home to four grade-A intelligent office buildings, a five-star design hotel, and a retail entertainment complex. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @cyberport_hk.

About The Singapore FinTech Consortium
The Singapore FinTech Consortium is a neutral platform that facilitates collaboration between all market participants and stakeholders in the Singapore and Southeast Asia FinTech ecosystem.

About Shanghai Technology Innovation Center
The Shanghai Technology Innovation Center (STIC) is a non-profit, international business incubator funded by the S&T Commission of Shanghai Municipality. It’s aim is to cultivate technology entrepreneurs and assist in the commercialization, industrialization and global expansion of China’s high-tech innovations.

About Storyvalues, Inc.
Storyvalues produces digital products, performances and training sessions that use storytelling to deliver creative content to children, families, communities, schools and businesses. They are the creators and publishers of online educational storytelling resources currently licensed for use by over 200,000 educators, students and families, including North America’s fourth largest school district, the Toronto District School Board. Storyvalues launched Kapowkids for the Chinese market. They have their first contract in Beijing and are planning to expand in Shanghai.

For media enquiries, contact:
Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District