COMPANY: Mobify Research and Development Inc.
“One of our core values is to always grow; we wanted to have a growth company from the start”
SFU computer science student Igor Faletski was regularly missing his bus. His solution? An SMS service that delivered TransLink schedules to his text message inbox. Along with co-founders John Boxall and Peter McLachlan, Faletski has grown Mobify from a three-person shop run from a basement in Burnaby into a global mobile software company with just under 80 full-time employees, with no external capital and offices in the U.K. and Japan.
You shifted your company’s focus after your first big sale, to TransLink. How did you come to make that decision?
One of our core values is to always grow; we wanted to have a growth company from the start. That means adjusting to the market and looking for opportunities. When we tried to grow the business with that one text messaging application, we cold-called Winnipeg and Edmonton and asked them to purchase the system from us, and they kind of laughed us out of the office over the phone; they didn’t need the system at the time. We tried to sell the system in the States, and the SMS infrastructure was different. We felt caught in the SMS market and we couldn’t expand, so we started trying new things focused on mobile apps and mobile web, and a new market in which we could sell.
How do you find the right people?
In the early years the challenge was finding that right person to take a risk on the company. Recruiting our first sales representative, our first marketing employee, and finding those people when you’re a small company trying to make ends meet is challenging. Now it’s more about how do we make all the teams at Mobify work well together: the product team, the sales and marketing teams, the customer success teams. How do we all work toward one vision and in the same direction and not focus too much on individual parts? It’s also about finding the right people for certain roles; Vancouver is amazing for engineering and design talent, but as a small market we don’t have any sales executives for running technology companies. –Jacob Parry
Meet Igor Faletski at our 30 Under 30 event on April 30, 2014. Get your tickets here.