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 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.
Jason Lawlor and the team at Ottawa’s Lightship Security are no strangers to exponential revenue growth.
The only previous winner on this year’s list, Lightship appeared in OBJ’s top-10 rankings in 2019. The six-year-old firm has also cracked Canadian Business Magazine’s prestigious Growth 500 list of Canada’s fastest-growing companies in recent years.
But navigating through one of the most tumultuous periods the global economy has ever endured makes this year’s honour extra special.
“There was no playbook going into (the pandemic),” says Lawlor, who founded the firm in 2015 with business partners Greg McLearn, Brad Proffitt and Lachlan Turner.
Still, Lightship continued to post impressive numbers in 2020. The firm kept adding to its headcount throughout the year and has grown from 13 employees two years ago to 32 today.
Lightship automates the process of verifying that IT hardware such as switchers and routers meets rigorous government security standards before being sold to governments themselves. Its customers include tech giants such as BlackBerry, Cisco, Dell and Samsung, and the company now has offices in Vancouver and Austin, Tex.
Lawlor says its product certification software, known as Greenlight, has distilled a process that used to consume as much as a year’s worth of manual labour down to less than a month.
“There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in our industry over the last several years,” he says.
With 5G networks rolling out, the bootstrapped enterprise is now partnering with local startup Field Effect on a government-funded project to automate the cybersecurity certification process for mobile technology such as smartphones.
In addition, Lightship plans to make its test automation software more widely available on a subscription basis.
“That’s a whole other revenue stream, being able to license that capability,” Lawlor says.