Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2023: Fintech entrepreneur Maxwell Nicholson has a knack for DIY projects

Blossom is a social investing platform for new investors

For someone under the age of 30, Maxwell Nicholson has already lived a surprising number of lives. At 13 years old, he founded a cupcake shop in his hometown of Grand Forks, receiving media attention and accolades. He later went to study at the University of Victoria, where he served as director of external relations for the school’s student society, worked as an instructor as an undergrad student and wrote a textbook for ECON 103 (not kidding). Oh, and he has worked both as a full-stack developer for a San Francisco startup and as a business analyst for global management giant McKinsey & Company.

With the world essentially at his fingertips, Nicholson decided to mix his real-world skills with his entrepreneurial roots and start Blossom, a social investing platform, in 2021. “We have three pillars: community, education and portfolio analysis,” explains Nicholson over a Zoom call while in New Orleans at a fintech conference. “We’re seeing a big shift from financial advisors to DIY investment—the younger generation, they want to do it themselves. So they’re turning to tools like Reddit, YouTube and TikTok for education. There’s a gap in the market for a platform to help these DIY investors connect and to empower them.”

Blossom has seen over 60,000 users on its app and has ranked in the top 50 on the App Store in the finance category. The company has also brokered partnerships with key financial institutions like BMO. “That’s one of the biggest reasons why we’re expanding to the U.S.,” says Nicholson. “There’s only 30 million people in Canada. One of every 1,000 Canadians now has downloaded our app. We want to get a million people on it.”

Nicholson is currently in the process of a $2.5-million fundraising round, 30 percent of which has already been committed. But through everything he’s done, Nicholson is still the kid making cupcakes in Grand Forks. “For me, business is very tangible,” he says. “I would make the cupcakes, bring them to market, sell them to the customer, see them bite into it in front of my eyes. Even when I think about building product at Blossom, that’s the lens I have. It’s about building it for the customer, delivering it to them and delighting them with it.”