Let’s talk about the coolness happening north of the border – And it has nothing to do with temperatures. Canadians are no slouches when it comes to creating innovative or popular technologies. Below are quick profiles of three Canadian companies helping the world with useful tech.
Sniply – URL shortener for social media marketing
Toronto-based Sniply isn’t “just another link shortener”. Have you ever seen a cool and great webpage but you can’t remember how you landed there, nor who shared it with you? If you tap into your natural memory to try to remember, it might be easy if the “cool and great” content was shared by someone you know well. But if one of your 12,000 Twitter followers shared it, and you two hardly interact, then chances are you’d need a reminder of some sort, assuming you want to thank or engage. The technology offered by Sniply helps to boost engagement and recognition by placing a small overlay on top of a webpage with a note from you – and it can even include a CTA and show your face pic too if you’d like.
Sniply also provides a standard retweet icon to encourage people to retweet the page with your custom note. There’s nothing to download, and you can customize the appearance of the overlay for extra impact, or to tie into your branding. CEO Michael Cheng said “Sniply falls under the umbrella of online marketing tools, but it’s in a hybrid genre because it involves social media too.” If you share often and utilize Sniply consistently, you can boost your brand and even be “top of mind” because your face pic can be easily overlayed on top of pages. For an example of that, click here to see my Sniply’ed author page on SmallBizTrends.com.
A few weeks ago, Sniply reached agreements to acquire Denver-based Hoverpost and Paris-based Headshare.
Lightspeed Retail – Inventory and POS software
Founded in 2005 around the time of Apple’s resurgence, Lightspeed Retail offers affordable solutions for retailers. Brick and mortar stores can use it to sync inventory with their e-commerce site, and store employees complete transactions from any device, even off-site at a conference or pop-up store. It can also manage a full POS front counter that works with cash drawers, scanners and printers. Reporting functions are also available so best-selling items can be identified and ordered ahead of demand, or to see which employees are top performers.
CEO Dax Dasilva noticed stores and boutiques lacked modern serious solutions. Existing tools were only handling one element at a time, e.g. payment or inventory. The company believes it’s important for commerce platforms to use a single database, especially when new stores are opened.
Now backed by Accel Partners and iNovia Capital, Lightspeed actually operated without backing from 2005-2012. Dasilva said there was some help from Canadian government programs, but credits much of the early success to bootstrapping. Last year’s introduction of “Lightspeed Cloud” was significant to its growth. Today, the Montreal-based company employs more than 200 people. More than 19,000 stores in 30 countries use Lightspeed to process 7.3 billion in annual sales. For years, this kind of enterprise-level tech was accessible only to big box stores. Now any retailer can have the same type of management software for under $100 a month. Lightspeed helps clients manage and sell products like clothes, wine, toys, ski equipment, and pet items. There’s even a whole street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood where nearly every store uses Lightspeed, and a marquee client is the Kardashian-owned boutique known as DASH.
Predictive Success – Workforce acquisition analytics and consulting
The cost of a bad hire can hurt a business even after the employee is long gone. Interviews often don’t tell the whole story. Predictive Success, based in Toronto, offers secure tools to help companies design jobs, attract the right candidates, onboard new hires, measure progress, develop experts and succession planning, and more. According to their website, 8,000 clients (including 80 in the Fortune 500) and 28 percent of Canada’s best managed companies use their systems.
President and CEO Dave Lahey said “If you’ve seen the movie Moneyball, you’ll understand the importance of a data-centric philosophy. Using data, companies are able to reduce uncertainty for the frontline leader and increase efficiency, proving that evidence beats opinion.” Predictive Success provides clients with ongoing training and is part of a network of over 300 associates including academic leaders. Tools, workshops and webinars are available in multiple languages.
The company’s “Connect” enhancement integrates their staple Predictive Index (“PI”) with 20 web-based solutions such as Oracle/Taleo Business and Enterprise Editions. The Predictive Index assessment was developed and validated in compliance with EEOC Guidelines, as well as standards set by the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology.
Disclaimer re: compensation received: None. Unrelated gift received at a later time via a special unrelated promotion, i.e., gift was not pre-arranged and not given quid pro quo.