Last year, the company grew its revenues by 250 per cent and more than doubled its staff – all without a single dollar of external investment.
That has been made possible by investing every dollar earned in revenue back into the company, as staff continue to develop and support its two products: online survey platform FluidSurveys and ReviewRoom, an online tool used by organizations to accept and review applications.
“We want to be a really big software company in Canada,” says co-CEO Aydin Mirzaee. “In order to do that, you need more resources. We’re not out there to make a quick buck, we want to build a huge company with a huge market share.”
Despite the fact that large North American venture capital firms now court the company on a weekly basis, the company has no plans to accept any funding, Mr. Mirzaee says.
As the company begins its fifth year in business, Chide.it has rebranded itself as FluidWare – an homage to its successful product’s name. ReviewRoom will be renamed FluidReview and all future products will carry the same branding. Chide.it will become a name of the past.
No one really knows the company as Chide.it, Mr. Mirzaee said, except for people in Ottawa. Most customers know them by their product names, and the company wants to build on that brand affinity.
“It will be a big change, but we’re thinking about the long term, the vision 20 years from now when we’re a multi-product company with international reach,” says Mr. Mirzaee. “We really want to make the Fluid brand name one that everyone will recognize.”
The company has plans to release additional products this year. Instead of providing a horizontal tool applicable to many industries – as is the case with its existing line – FluidWare plans to produce a niche solution for a specific industry, without disclosing details.
That product will be built by a staff that will likely grow to 60 by the end of 2013, according to Mr. Mirzaee, which means the company will probably have to find new office space sometime this year. Its current landlord at 1729 Bank St. has been accommodating during Chide.it’s growth spurt, Mr. Mirzaee says, but that growth doesn’t seem to be slowing.
Its new location will likely be in central Ottawa, he added.
A lot has happened during the past five years for the local company. That includes establishing a successful product in an overcrowded survey market and becoming such an industry standard that FluidSurveys is now listed in textbooks and required learning for some government employees. Chide.it - an OBJ Startup to Watch in 2011 - used to receive a request for proposals once per month. Now, it receives a couple each week.
ReviewRoom handled more than half a billion dollars of commerce on its platform in 2012 alone, used by universities, secret societies and even reality television shows.
But this is only the beginning, says Mr. Mirzaee.
“We want to make Ottawa proud,” he says.