The new Interac Lab immerses the company in the tech community in the Waterloo Region
KITCHENER, ONT., June 19, 2018 – Interac Corp. (“Interac”) announced today the launch of the Interac Lab, an innovation outpost and accelerator at the Kitchener-based tech hub, Communitech. The Interac Lab will support research and development, offering a space for hands-on experimentation. The focus will be on tackling product and industry challenges, which will in turn accelerate the development of the next generation of products and features for Canadians.
“Opening the Interac Lab positions us to continue to evolve as the payments sphere changes,” said Debbie Gamble, VP, Digital Product and Platforms at Interac Corp. “Kitchener-Waterloo is an incredible place with such a wealth of tech knowledge. We’re excited to learn from some of the best minds while we explore new ways to use our products and platforms.”
The outpost is also a natural extension of the entrepreneurial culture that drives innovation at Interac and further immerses the company in Canada’s tech community. The Interac Lab will focus on three key priorities:
- Develop new payment capabilities: Solve problem statements through ideation, research, development and creating proofs of concept, ultimately accelerating how we go-to-market.
- Improve the way consumers and businesses move money: Solve new use cases to help Canadians efficiently and immediately move money how, where and when they want to.
- Explore the future of payments: Test and learn with emerging technologies such as voice, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and Blockchain, to explore how the Interac suite of products can evolve with new trends.
“Having a nationally-recognized brand like Interac engage with our community and help build technology for today and the future is wonderful,” said Iain Klugman, CEO, Communitech. “As a leader in their industry, we’re excited to have Interac join our ecosystem of labs amongst the most innovative in Canada.” The Interac Lab will have full-time staff and a rotating group of co-op students from the local universities’ math, science and engineering programs.
“The knowledge-sharing that comes with being a part of Communitech is invaluable to our co-op students and team, and hopefully to the others throughout the space,” said Tricia Gruetzmacher, Director, Interac Lab. “Collaborating daily with others in the tech community helps us stay nimble and agile as we create and test use cases that will accelerate our product development.”
Interac participated in a 36-hour hackathon at the start of this year, and hosted a Collision Day at Communitech in 2017. Both programs gave access to a beta-version of the Interac e-Transfer Public API, allowing participants to build on the platform and share their learnings with the Interac product team. Both events helped the product group continue to brainstorm ways to accelerate bank-sponsored innovation to bring payments solutions to developers. Building on existing product platforms and exploring new possibilities are some of the many ways Interac continues to innovate its services, which consumers and businesses already use every day.
Canadians are using Interac products at record levels. On June 1 2018, Interac e-Transfer saw a record number of transactions – 2 million in one day – and use of the service is increasing at a rate of 50 per cent year-over-year. This follows the launch of two new features for the service, Request Money and Autodeposit in late 2017.
About Interac Corp.
Interac Corp. operates an economical, world-class debit payments system with broad-based acceptance, reliability, security, and efficiency. The organization is one of Canada’s leading payments brands and is chosen an average of 16 million times daily to pay and exchange money. For more than 30 years, Interac Corp. and its predecessors, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation, have facilitated secure financial transactions through the development of innovative and convenient debit and money transfer solutions. A leader in the prevention and detection of fraud, the organization has one of the lowest rates of fraud globally. Visit interac.ca or follow @INTERAC on Twitter. Interac Corp. has a diverse group of shareholders that includes banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, payment processors and merchants.
Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.
Communitech is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs and helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.
- Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
- Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
- Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant.