According to a new report by Statistics Canada, the number of Canadian Black-owned businesses is on the rise, but unfortunately many of them still face ongoing systemic challenges preventing their ability to grow and scale. Needless to say, supporting Black founders remains critical to improving inclusivity and racial equity in the startup ecosystem.
We launched the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders program in 2020 to help Black-owned startups in the U.S. and Canada prepare for the next phase of their growth journey. Earlier this summer, we put out a call for applications for the fourth annual cohort, and today we’re thrilled to reveal the startups joining our class of 2023.
Among this group is Hamilton-based fintech company, Expedier Inc, a startup aiming to unlock opportunities for BIPOC global banking. We spoke to founder and CEO, Kingsley Madu, about how the business is offering financial solutions to BIPOC communities, helping them understand their options and build their wealth.
Kingsley Madu, founder and CEO, Expedier Inc.
What inspired you to create Expedier?
Expedier was born from my personal experience and pain. When I came to North America, I was financially stranded from the second I landed in the airport. I didn’t have a credit card so I couldn’t get a rideshare, rent a car or book a hotel. Every landlord required six months of credit history before they would let me lease a property, but the banks required a home address before I could open a checking account or apply for a credit card. The banking system was not built for me or Canada’s 8 million immigrants.
What challenges within financial services are you trying to solve?
The traditional, geographically restrictive, “one size fits all” banking system is broken and unable to serve the newer generation that requires a different kind of banking system, especially one tailored to their needs. With Expedier, every user transcends the physical banking structures by having their money where it belongs and is readily accessible - through our digital banking solution.
What key insights have you discovered since launching Expedier?
We've learned that financial challenges for immigrants go beyond just access to banking services that many people don’t realize, including cultural nuances and language barriers. We have also learnt a few needs for newcomers including:
- Personalized financial services for immigrants and travelers
- A need for a financial system that is global and borderless in nature as people move
- Partnerships with local communities
- A need to build a financial system that understands “culture”
These insights have driven us to continuously refine and expand our services, ensuring that Expedier remains a solution that not only bridges the financial gap but also addresses the broader needs of underbanked immigrants on their journey to a better life.
As a startup founder, what has the journey been like for you so far?
In the face of adversity, every step has been rewarding. From bootstrapping for three years to our first $5 million in processed volume and to eventually closing several partnership deals with global banks and being recognized as a top 12 Fintech by Platform Calgary - the journey is one I would take over and over again!
What keeps you motivated?
Simply put: the joy of each user who discovers Expedier and gives us feedback about how Expedier has changed their lives. Personally, it is the unwavering belief in the transformative impact of Expedier for underbanked immigrants. More than that, is witnessing firsthand the positive difference our solution makes in our users' financial journey and the opportunities we provide.
What are you most looking forward to as part of the 2023 Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders cohort?
I'm particularly excited about the opportunity to leverage Google's extensive resources and expertise tailored to technology startups. That includes the prospect of receiving strong mentorship, technical project support and access to Google's innovative programs and products. Looking forward to learning about business strategies and marketing knowledge on building a 1-billion user product.
Looking ahead, what excites you most about the future for your company?
I’m excited to ignite transformative change for immigrants with banking challenges globally. We’ve built and continue to enhance a global product, waiting to be placed in the hands of over a billion users and change the lives of those looking to establish a new one.
Expedier is one of 12 startups joining the North American Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders cohorts. You can read more about the other startups here. We can’t wait to get started with the Black Founders class of 2023 when the program kicks off later this month.