My Financial Turning Point: Katherine Berry

A Gastown meeting between Katherine Berry and her sister Kristine became the pivotal moment for the future of Allocadia—a company that provides marketing performance management software

“My twin sister, Kristine, [Steuart], was a marketing manager, and she and her colleagues were each managing their own million-dollar marketing spend. They kept seeing the same pain point: they couldn’t easily say, at the end of the quarter, what they spent against what objectives. We thought there was a better way. Kristine and I sketched up a little mock-up in a coffee shop and the prototype for Allocadia went from there.

We funded it with our side jobs: I was an instructor at BCIT and also doing part-time work, while Kristine had just had her second child and was doing marketing services.

We had a website up, a Google ad words budget of $150 a month, and had subleased a tiny shared desk in a place where we could have Allocadia space to work from. But the scariest thing was deciding whether or not to jump in with two feet. We knew this was a big risk and the stats were against us.

We met at Steamworks in Gastown. It was a difficult conversation because it was about understanding what we wanted in life and how committed we were to this. I mean, we were close as sisters, but we really needed to know how much both of us could put in to fund this. Ultimately, I decided to quit my part-time job and kept the BCIT work to pay the bills. Kristine had already quit her big tech company job and she reduced the services work she was doing as well.

After that, it changed completely. Our single focus together was Allocadia. We had goals to hit, whereas before we always had other things pulling our attention. We developed a prototype and signed our first customer at a trade show. We realized we had to have a Version 1 of our product so we accelerated the development and launched in 2010, and we got some customers from that.

It was a big day when the business started to fund itself. We had signed our first large enterprise, Juniper Networks, and we didn’t have to put money into the business anymore. That was a really big milestone for us.”