The Ripple Effect: What Neo’s $64M Series B Raise Means For The PrairiesVenture Building
Since day one, Harvest’s mission has remained the same — to support and build the Prairie’s startup ecosystem. With each startup we help launch and scale, we are reminded of the tremendous opportunity that exists within the Canadian Prairies.
Today announcing a Series B raise of $64 million, our first keystone venture, Neo Financial, has turned the spotlight back onto the prairies. To date, Neo has secured $114 million in funding within just two years of launching. This is a testament not only to the need for innovative banking solutions in Canada but also to Harvest's expertise in growing and scaling startups.
The playbook used to grow — and rapidly scale — SkipTheDishes has proven to be more than just a one trick pony. Working hand-in-hand with Neo, we’ve applied strategic concepts derived from the Harvest playbook to successfully launch and scale one of Canada’s fastest-growing FinTechs.
From developing an end-to-end talent management strategy to implementing a best-in-class growth marketing plan, since launching in 2019, Neo along with Harvest, has…
- Grown their Prairie-based team from 36 employees to over 300, and will be welcoming 300 more within the next five years
- Partnered with HBC to deliver the Hudson’s Bay MastercardⓇ - powered by Neo, opening the door to millions of customers
- Established a second headquarters in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, in addition to its office in Calgary
Through working with the Neo team during its rapid growth, we learned a lot about venture building. These experiences have allowed us to introduce two new companies into the ecosystem, Propra and OneVest, and thus welcoming more entrepreneurs and tech talent to the fold.
De-risking the Prairies
First entering into the prairie-tech scene, Harvest’s managing director, Chris Simair, and his fellow Skip founders encountered many barriers to growth. From a lack of capital to sparse affordable talent, it's easy to see why Toronto or Vancouver are defaults for aspiring entrepreneurs.
However, times are changing. In 2020, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba attracted over $300 million, $10 million, and $29 million in VC funding, respectively. With more investors than ever looking to local startups, the Prairies now have the opportunity to become a launching ground for globally competitive tech companies.
Investors aren't the only ones attracted to our provinces — skilled professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit are increasingly enticed by the emerging industry. Since 2019, our recruitment team connected Neo to over 250 new hires and continue to support their long-term company goals.
Empowering founding teams
In the beginning, Harvest worked as an extension of the Neo team. Together, we identified best practices and processes to ensure that they were prepared for rapid growth. Today, Neo's in-house team leverages Harvest’s supports when needed.
This is our vision for all startups. We’re not in the business of hand-holding — our subject matter experts assist founders and their teams in applying Harvest's best practices to grow their business. By bridging the skill resource and funding gaps, we can continue to foster a globally competitive tech ecosystem right in our own backyard.
Neo is only the beginning of the Canadian Prairies’ evolution. Now more than ever, developments in tech are turning the heads of both investors and talent. Transforming the Prairie provinces into a technological powerhouse isn't just a pipe dream, it's become a reality.