360pi enjoys creative play, which even comes when using the “pi” part of its name. Meeting rooms at the Ottawa company’s Prince of Wales location are named after private investigators such as Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes.
Alexander Rink is the CEO of 360pi.
By Elizabeth Howell
“We do obviously work in a corporate type setting … but we don’t need to be stuffy ourselves,” said CEO Alexander Rink.
The payback for the fun is hard-working employees: “They like to learn, and they like complex problems. The things we do are not simple, easy issues. They are complex issues and they take smart people.”
The company is placed in the fast-growing market of price intelligence, in which retailers are eager to see what their competitors are offering, and at what price. Consumers can easily switch their buys when a simple web search turns up a lower cost. For the big companies, a real-time monitoring service is invaluable to help them keep abreast of the competition, Mr. Rink said.
Product innovation is one of 360pi’s keys to keeping revenues flowing, along with understanding customer needs. Specifically, the company has been bulking up in product management lately because Mr. Rink’s team sees the market as wanting products that are reliable and scalable.
Along with that came hiring two salespeople (both located coincidentally in Texas, Mr. Rink said) that could one day form part of a larger network of staff across the United States.
360pi began in 2008 as part of software analytics company Apption’s incubator program. Then known as Gazaro, the company offered a comparison shopping engine for consumers in 2010, but officials pivoted to North American businesses when they saw where their revenues were rising most quickly.
Sometime in the future will come expansion to overseas customers, but Mr. Rink said one of the greatest challenges now is just staying current as mergers and acquisitions change his competitors, which are located all over the world.
What makes 360pi stand apart is the number, size and stature of its customers, Mr. Rink added. “We’re clearly ahead of the competition.”
LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 50
MAJOR CUSTOMERS: Ace Hardware, Best Buy Canada and Overstock Canada
PRODUCT/SERVICE: Market intelligence on prices tailored to retailers
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