Each year, OBJ recognizes the region’s rapidly growing firms with its Fastest Growing Companies awards. The aim is to honour the city’s top performers for for substantial, sustainable and profitable growth. Recipients are ranked by their three-year revenue growth. They must have had revenues of at least $100,000 in the first of those three years under consideration. Revenues must have risen to at least $500,000 in their most recent fiscal year. The companies will be profiled online in the coming days and recognized at a cocktail reception on May 24 at the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards. Click here for more information on the event.
The way Solink CEO Mike Matta sees it, his Kanata-based firm is on the cutting edge of a technological revolution.
Founded in 2009, Solink was originally launched to come up with a software solution to help a fellow Wesley Clover portfolio company detect ATM fraud on behalf of its customers in the banking industry.
Before long, however, Solink’s founders realized its product could help scores of businesses from banks to quick-service restaurants quickly “mine” through thousands of hours of security footage to spot suspicious transaction trends and patterns of behaviour – and pinpoint exactly where and when the incidents occurred.
“I think video is kind of the next ecosystem, the next platform really that’s going to be used to influence an entire generation – I think an entire market,” says Mr. Matta. “And surveillance is really just at the cusp of it.”
While the firm’s current focus is on loss prevention, Solink executives believe their subscription-based software solution could eventually help clients use all those hours of security footage – which today are mostly ignored unless something suspicious happens – to better understand how employees function and find ways to help them work more efficiently. The company is currently piloting a couple of new cloud-based applications with just such an HR mandate in mind.
Unlike most old-school security tech firms that manufacture and market hardware such as cameras and DVRs, Solink concentrates almost solely on software – so much so that it will happily provide clients with cameras and other equipment practically free of charge in exchange for using its products.
For Solink, such devices are simply a means to an end.
“The customer does not pay for hardware,” says Mr. Matta. “They pay for the service of us being able to identify insights from their business.”
Local headcount: 27
Product / service: Data analytics software focused on security applications
Three-year revenue growth: 227.6%
The company’s software taps directly into clients’ point-of-sale platforms, keeping a second-by-second account of all sales activity that can be synched immediately with accompanying security footage.
For example, using Solink’s system, an establishment such as Tim Hortons (currently the firm’s largest customer) can quickly and accurately determine if a coffee-buyer who received a police discount was in fact a uniform-wearing officer or whether an employee recorded the transaction fraudulently in order to pocket the difference between a discount and a full-price sale.
And because Solink has instant access to millions of hours of footage across a wide range of customers, the company says, that makes it easier to determine “baselines” of consumer behaviour that can help it spot unusual patterns down the road.
Mr. Matta says his firm is a leader in a multibillion-dollar industry that’s still in its infancy. Now at 27 employees, Solink has already landed more than $5 million in venture capital from Wesley Clover and hopes to secure another round in the next 12 months.
The firm’s 1,100 clients operate in six countries and are split almost evenly between the quick-service restaurant and the financial services industries, with major players such as Cold Stone Creamery, New York Fries and Wendy’s among the well-known names on its roster.
Although Solink has kept a relatively low profile so far, chief financial officer Cory Michalyshyn says the firm is ready to “break out” and assert itself as an up-and-coming tech star.
“There’s this big market that got built around surveillance where people really just sold hardware,” adds Mr. Matta. “The value of this insight is beyond infrastructure. It’s even beyond security.”
2017 Fastest Growing Companies
(Three-year revenue growth in parenthesis)
Bellefleur Physiotherapy (349.9%)
Prosperity Group (281.5%)
Mishkumi Technologies (223.8%)
Honourable mention: FRAMOS Technologies (3,963.6%)