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Sustainable investing: it should be your choice

Emily Mercy was a university business student with a background in renewable energy. She had also learned a lot about finance as she approached her fourth and final year of post-secondary education. However, it was a social finance forum in her third year that changed the trajectory of her career. This forum enlightened her on investments and the impact that they have on the environment.  

More tellingly, Mercy learned through this forum and her own investigation that most people who put their money in savings accounts, don’t have a say in where it’s invested. She wanted to change this and democratize individual finance. 

Mercy began researching impact investments and the options available for regular, individual investors. Her goal was helping individuals make their own investment choices by providing them with a list of eco-conscious companies/projects that work towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

Mercy and her team reached out to their global network, and the results greatly exceeded what they had expected.  

An International Connection to Sustainable Investing  

Starting with an exploration phase, Mercy found a model that was successful, Goparity in Lisbon, Portugal. The company offers impact investing in Europe for as little as five euros. This was exactly what Mercy was looking for, but she wondered how this model and vision could be recreated in Canada. Goparity was very helpful and provided experts to help Mercy and the team learn what they needed and helped them build out a strategy.  

This is where the relationship began between TechAlliance and Mercy’s team.  

TechAlliance connected them with business accelerators and provided resources that would help them build the idea into a feasible business. Shortly thereafter, Goparity asked Mercy if she wanted to launch Goparity Canada. 

TechAlliance helped the three founders, Emily Mercy, Elliot Warner and Blake Bunting, through the decision-making process and how the partnership would work. They evaluated potential competition, which, as Mercy already knew, was sparse.  

After finding securities lawyers and other regulatory experts, and working with the Ontario Securities Commission for two years, Goparity was approved for a licence to sell securities to the public.  

Mercy and her team began working with TechAlliance to create a model, with the safety of their investors at the forefront. Goparity Canada was subsequently approved for the i.d.e.a. FundTM. The funding came at the perfect time as the new business was ready to launch. The first funding installment was received just before its launch date, which allowed Goparity Canada to implement its initial marketing strategy and outreach successfully.  

Supported by a $10-million Government of Canada investment, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the i.d.e.a FundTM is led by Boundless Accelerator in partnership with five Regional Innovation Centres (RICs): WeTechAlliance, Haltech, Innovate Niagara, Innovation Factory and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. The program helps high-potential ventures access the tools they need to succeed by providing financial and business advisory supports to develop or redesign products, services, processes and technologies that reduce impacts on the environment and create made-in-Canada solutions. 

Goparity is a GO! 

Mercy and her team arranged a launch party, hired a professional photographer, updated their website, hired a public relations firm, and applied an extra boost to attend conferences and help solidify partnerships. All of this led to important exposure and brand awareness. They also received crucial feedback that helped to improve their product. 

The launch party was an overwhelming success and acted as a pinch-me moment for the founders of Goparity Canada. They were surrounded by people that they knew and loved. They celebrated that the idea that they had worked on for years was now real and successful! 

The second installment from the i.d.e.a. FundTM targeted the team’s digital marketing and strategy. They wanted to educate their customers and help them increase their understanding of Goparity and impact investing.  

With support from TechAlliance and the connections it helped to set up, it is now easy to create an account and navigate goparity.ca. At each login, the user can see how much money is available to invest in the projects within their platform, all of which are debt investments. The app’s dashboard also illustrates how much of the investor’s money has contributed to sustainable projects. 

Now the founders work with one full-time developer, two part-time staff that are shared with Goparity Europe, and a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Their Head of Risk is also the Chief Financial Officer for Goparity Europe, and they work with another developer who is shared across entities. Goparity Canada has an intern who is transitioning to a part-time role as well. The business is growing and they’re looking to add another team member in 2024. 

According to Andrew Leest, TechAlliance’s Manger of Venture Growth, who assisted with Goparity Canada’s launch, “Sustainable investing is of increasing importance to Canadians. Goparity’s platform allows anyone to become involved and have more power over where their money goes.” 

To learn more about GoParity visit https://goparity.ca/
To learn more about the i.d.e.a FundTM go to https://www.techalliance.ca/i-d-e-a-fund/  
To learn more about FedDev Ontario, go to https://feddev-ontario.canada.ca/en  

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