Klipfolio charts future growth after raising $1.7M investment

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Local software company Klipfolio is growing so fast, the CEO sometimes has to take calls in the construction zone, where workers are expanding the business intelligence firm’s offices.

Allan Wille is the CEO of Klipfolio.

By Jacob Serebrin

On Thursday, the company announced that it has raised $1.7 million in venture capital, money that it plans to use to fuel growth.

“We’re pretty thrilled,” said Allan Wille, Klipfolio’s CEO, with the sound of hammers in background. He said the investment is “going to allow us to bring more staff in.”

The investment round was led by Business Development Bank of Canada’s Venture Capital IT Fund and local fund Mistral Venture Partners.

Also involved were Ottawa’s Fundfire, New York-based BOLDstart Ventures and Acadia Woods, along with Boston’s CommonAngels Ventures.

Klipfolio, which was known as Serence until 2008, has been in business since 2001. For most of that time, the company sold and developed on-premise business intelligence software.

Things started to change around two years ago, Mr. Wille said, when the company began selling a cloud-based version of the software.

By the end of the first year, the company had signed up 350 new customers for its cloud-based offering, according to Mr. Wille. By the end of the second, the company had added over another 1,000. He said Klipfolio is currently adding between 50 and 60 new customers a month.

It was that success that led the company to start looking for new investors.

“We went out to market because we said ‘we’ve got a good thing going and we think we can grow faster,’” Mr. Wille said.

The company currently has a a staff of 15 and Mr. Wille said he’s already started hiring more people. The staff will grow to 16 next week and there are five openings.

“We’re still small but we have big plans,” Mr. Wille said.

He said the company plans to add staff in a variety of areas, from product development to sales and marketing.

Adding new staff will allow the company to “put the focus back on to the customer,” he said.

Customer demand motivated the company to begin developing its cloud-based offering around four years ago, according to MR. Wille. People who had been using the company’s earlier installed, software product wanted to be able to access it through their mobile devices.

Mr. Wille said Klipfolio also took into account the changing nature of corporate IT departments when it was developing the cloud-based product. He said IT departments are increasingly focused on things like compliance with privacy laws and security practices and less focused on support.

“It had to be self-supporting,” he said.

The new product is also easier to buy.

“We basically simplified the process of buying and deploying business intelligence software,” he said. Customers can “take out a credit card and just purchase it.”

Sales also require less effort from Klipfolio. Many customers now buy the product online and never have to interact with the company’s staff.

There are a couple other factors that Mr. Wille credits for the product’s success. Part of that is the acceptance of cloud-computing in a business setting.

But he said the popularity of the iPad and other tablet devices have also “had a massive impact.” That’s something Mr. Wille said he didn’t see coming.

“Executives want their data, their metrics, when they walk into the board room,” he said.

Organizations: Business Development Bank of Canada, Venture Capital IT Fund, Mistral Venture Partners BOLDstart Ventures

Geographic location: Ottawa, Acadia Woods, Boston

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