Manulife announced this morning a new partnership with MaRS Discovery District.
Manulife will become a part of MaRS’ FinTech Cluster, and will join companies like Airbnb, Facebook Canada, Moneris, PayPal and other startups at the centre.
As part of the new partnership, MaRS will become Manulife’s Toronto location for its Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT).
Centered on innovation, the tangible LOFT spaces provide a platform for employees across the company to collaborate and devise new technological solutions for Manulife’s various wealth and asset management, and insurance business lines.
Manulife opened a LOFT site in Boston in July 2015, and there are plans to expand its innovation network to Singapore. In 2014, Manulife launched a similar innovation hub in Waterloo Region’s Communitech Hub called RED Lab.
“The internal infrastructure that companies like Manulife are building, with projects like LOFT, is central to the future of business and technology innovation,” said Salim Teja, Executive Vice President, Venture Services, MaRS. “LOFT’s arrival at MaRS and our partnership with Manulife will significantly expand the resources and networks available to our entrepreneurial community.”
To mark the announcement, on December 1st and 2nd LOFT will host a two-day public hackathon at MaRS Discovery District called Unleash Toronto: From Paper to Prototype. The event will bring together 150 participants including Manulife employees from Canada, Asia, Europe and the U.S.
Unleash Toronto builds on the success of the Unleash Boston hackathon held for employees in July 2015. Participants will collaborate to develop prototypes in response to the event’s challenge: How might we help customers redefine and reimagine what it means to invest with Manulife through the use of new business models, new channels and new technology?