Calgary startup Symend raises US$ 43-million, hires hundreds, bringing hopes of tech revival to depressed oil patch

Calgary startup Symend raises US$ 43-million, hires hundreds, bringing hopes of tech revival to depressed oil patch

Symend’s Chief Marketing Officer Tiffany Kaminsky and CEO Hanif Joshanghani in Calgary on Feb. 8, 2021.

Todd Korol/The World and Mail

Symend Inc., a Calgary startup that has become one of Canada’s most rapidly expanding innovation business serving huge corporations, has raised an extra US$43- million in venture capital, just nine months after protecting US$52- million from financiers.

The financing was led by Inovia Capital, which also led last Might’s round. Other financiers include Ignition Partners, Impression Ventures, BDC Capital, Mistral Ventures, founder Markus Frind and Matthew Schiltz, a previous president of DocuSign Inc.

” We like to invest in and double down on companies we view as super-high growth [opportunities] which are huge winners, and Symend is definitely because category,” Inovia managing partner Dennis Kavelman said.

Symend is one of numerous Calgary software application business, including Benevity Inc., Solium Capital Inc, RS Energy Group and Neo Financial Technologies Inc., that have attracted substantial capital in the previous 2 years, supplying a brilliant counterpoint to Alberta’s bleak oil and gas industry.

The momentum picked up as the pandemic crushed oil prices, highlighting the need for economic diversity, stated David Lod, the CEO of Veerum Inc., a Calgary start-up that supplies online software for operators of major commercial tasks. “The enjoyment’s coming from a decade of effort, and now you’re starting to see [highly valued technology] business come out of Alberta,” he said. “These substantial capital expense and raises are happening so rapidly.”

Symend combines artificial intelligence and behavioural science to assist billers in the telecommunications and banking sectors collect from delinquent clients in a more effective and empathetic way. Its customers, that include most Canadian and U.S. providers plus at least one big Canadian bank, have used its online software application to deal with 10s of countless clients. The company doesn’t disclose revenues, however CEO and co-founder Hanif Joshaghani stated they increased more than 100 percent in 2015, as clients had a hard time to stay up to date with payments and call centres became stretched.

” A few of our bigger business needed more assistance than ever,” Mr. Joshaghani said. “We have this unique chance to develop an internationally substantial business, in terms of valuation and influence on end customers. We wanted to ensure we had the balance sheet to actually go after it with confidence and construct a classification creator and leader.”

He said the business is now focusing its efforts on winning over North American banks as customers.

Symend has quintupled its labor force to 250 employees in the past 13 months and plans to double that this year. “We absolutely surpassed our development [objectives]” from last May, primary marketing officer and co-founder Tiffany Kaminsky stated. Amongst current employees are primary technology officer Corey Scobie, a Silicon Valley-based Canadian who has had senior engineering functions with Akamai Technologies and IBM. Former Salesforce senior vice-president PehKeong Teh has actually signed up with as primary item officer, while Matt LaHood, previously an executive with Fair Isaac Corp., ended up being Symend’s senior vice-president of behavioural science, information science and analytics.

Mr. Joshaghani, an investment banker-turned-entrepreneur, envisaged Symend as a passion task in 2016 after selling part of his previous startup. His family pertained to Canada after fleeing Iran and living in refugee camps, and Mr. Joshaghani saw people he matured around struggle financially.

He wished to enhance the miserable experience of handling financial obligation collectors, as billers often use a one-size-fits-all approach that involves sending out impersonal late-payment notifications, then contracting outdoors debt collector to pester people. Mr. Joshaghani thought it would be more reliable to engage consumers constructively, utilizing innovation.

With Symend’s software, billers can individually resolve tardy payers according to what the data reveal about their history and possibility to pay. The automatic program uses softer methods such as friendly nudges, messages with smiley-face emoticons and non-threatening follow-ups, all based on what behavioural science recommends its algorithms ought to do.

That has created “out-of-the-box return on investment,” said Mr. Kavelman, as billers using Symend save money on call centre costs and improve both collections and client retention. Mr. Schiltz said every Symend trial with prospective clients has actually led to a contract.

With reports from Jeffrey Jones

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