The company wanted to keep its employees in Ottawa, but Embotics found that it had to turn to Toronto to find the rockstar talent it was looking for.
The talent is here, says Embotics CEO Jay Litkey, but qualified candidates are typically already employed. And, in a risk-averse government town such as Ottawa, he says it’s not easy to shake them loose.
“It’s hard to convince an engineer to leave what they perceive as a comfortable, steady job to jump on board on something that is a rocket ship, but arguably more risky,” he says.
Embotics had to open a satellite office in Toronto to accommodate its hiring needs. With sales growing 300 per cent this year, and all signs pointing to revenues doubling - if not tripling - next year, the company is still in recruiting mode.
Ottawa will continue to be the company’s main headquarters, but Mr. Litkey says he may continue to look elsewhere if he can’t find talented engineers in this city.
“It’s a little sad not to be able to keep everyone in Ottawa,” he says.
Aside from the perceived risk-averse culture in Ottawa, Mr. Litkey says he believes Embotics must raise its local profile local. That’s a challenge when most of the company’s clients cannot be identified for security reasons.
“I think people would fall off their chair if they heard some of the names and saw the calibre of the contracts that we’re winning,” he says.
Customers include U.S. federal and state government departments, one Canadian federal department, universities and colleges, as well as many major international accounting firms.
Embotics is also partnering with a number of local resellers who have strong federal government ties to market themselves to Shared Services Canada, the new federal agency seeking to consolidate the government’s IT portfolio. The names of the partnering companies have not yet been disclosed.
The local company now has employees in Canada, the U.S. and London, England. The next market it hopes to hire employees in is the Asia-Pacific region, where customers and channel partners already exist.
The recent buzz surrounding the cloud industry is one reason behind the company’s significant growth, Mr. Litkey says.
“We spent less time and money educating people as to why they needed to build a private cloud, and more time servicing and selling to the people who knew what they were looking for,” he says.
Private clouds differ from public clouds in that only a select number of people have access to the information, as opposed to making it available to the general public. It’s a way for companies to turn their data centres into their own internal clouds, Mr. Litkey says.
The company has raised $18 million in financing to date, and was named one of OBJ’s Startups to Watch in 2009.