CALGARY — When Neo Financial reached the vaunted $1-billion valuation mark in May 2022, it appeared to confirm the Calgary fintech company’s spot among the ranks of Canada’s most successful tech startups. With $185 million in fresh Series C financing in hand, Neo also announced it had reached the one-million-customer milestone in just three years.
But according to interviews with 13 current and former Neo employees, and internal documents obtained by The Logic, success in Canada’s financial tech sector has been harder for the company to come by than those big numbers suggest. The company has grappled with low user rates for its flagship credit card. A deal to take on Hudson’s Bay credit-card business has seen the retailer take a previously unreported stake in the startup. And Neo’s early struggles to build its consumer-facing business amid the COVID-19 pandemic has lent urgency to its efforts to launch new products.