Ottawa fintech startup ChangeJar accepted into Silicon Valley accelerator

The Ottawa team behind an app that turns spare change into digital currency is joining a California accelerator that’s also making a “significant” investment in the company.

ChangeJar, in short, lets users save their spare change on their phone. User making a cash payment at participating merchants can ask to receive their change back on their app. That money can then be used to tip the merchant’s staff or given to other people if, say, a group of friends are ordering a pizza.

The Ottawa-based firm, which is one of Invest Ottawa’s resident companies, says it’s one of 45 companies selected from some 1,500 applicants to join the 500 Startups accelerator.

It operates a four-month program and a venture capital seed fund that typically invests US$100,000 for five per cent of a company. It says it has some $250 million in assets under management and has invested in more than 1,500 companies around the world.

“Inclusion in the 500 Startups Batch 19 accelerator program as part of our latest round of angel financing recognizes the exciting potential of ChangeJar’s mobile cash payment platform,” said ChangeJar founder and CEO Tom Camps in a statement. “We’re already moving ahead full speed to advance our growth with expansion across Canada and into the U.S. in the coming months.”

ChangeJar recently celebrated its two-year anniversary and has five employees, according to Invest Ottawa.

The economic development agency says ChangeJar is the second of its resident companies to be accepted into 500 Startups after GymTrack participated in the Silicon Valley accelerator in 2014.