Michael Katchen is one of the leading figures of technological innovation in the world today. As the founder and CEO of Wealthsimple, Katchen redefined investing for a young generation and disrupted the behemoth financial services industry. How did he do it? With an approach to innovation that’s rooted in process over product, Katchen is able to solve big problems, reinvent industries, and continually grow. And in talks, he shows organizations how to weave innovation into the very fabric of their company so that they can do the same.
“Wealthsimple is an example of fin-tech at its finest … The success of this business has turned heads all over the world.”— Justin Trudeau
Frustrated by his options as a retail investor, Michael Katchen started Wealthsimple—an online financial services company—to make investing easy, low-cost, and accessible to everyone, regardless of age or net worth. Fueled by the idea that financial freedom is a force for good, and that each person should have equal access and opportunity to achieve it, Katchen axed the high fees and account minimums associated with traditional investing. “The financial services industry has historically made it seem complicated for its own benefit, and the result is that people get scared off, or pay too much, or don't get the advice they need,” Katchen explains. Wealthsimple simplifies investing, and does so on a sleek, automated platform that appeals to a younger generation of first-time investors. Katchen’s emphasis on young investors was a large part of his business strategy, helping Wealthsimple grow to manage $5 billion for more than 175,000 clients in just a few short years. The platform continues to expand rapidly, establishing itself as a bona-fide threat to the monopoly of big banks, and Katchen predicts it will grow to manage $1 trillion in the next decade-and-a-half. Despite its state-of-the-art technology, Wealthsimple is designed to be a human investment company, offering transparency to its users.
Katchen has been called an Industry Mover by the Financial Post, a Change Agent by Canadian Business magazine, and one of Toronto’s 50 most influential people by Toronto Life. He won Entrepreneur of the Year at the Canadian Startup Awards, and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. He is a member of the Canadian Business Council. Prior to founding Wealthsimple, Katchen led product and marketing at 1000memories, a Y Combinator startup that was acquired by Ancestry.com. Katchen started his career at McKinsey & Company, where he advised clients in finance and technology, and holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Western.
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Genuine Innovation How Process, Not Product, Drives Wealthsimple
These days, every company (and person) will tell you they are innovative. They are trying to cultivate more innovation at work. They deeply value innovative thinking. They invest in innovation. But how do we actually “do” innovation? What does it look like in practice? In this informative talk, Michael Katchen describes how truly innovative companies approach innovation like a process, not a product. It’s woven into the very DNA of a successful company (like Wealthsimple, Katchen’s transformative brand). It allows it to constantly iterate, reinvent a sector, enter new markets, and solve problems. And it’s the core element that helps a company grow. With Katchen’s straightforward advice, we can see what innovation looks like in a growing, game-changing organization, and how you can put it into practice immediately.