Based in Toronto, Fiix is one of Canada’s fastest-growing ICT companies. Its cloud-based maintenance management software currently helps thousands of organizations worldwide improve their maintenance practices and drive greater sustainability. As a successful scaling company, they were one of the firms to receive a financial voucher from the Ontario Scale-Up Voucher Program.
When you speak to Marc Castel, CEO of Fiix, it’s evident that he had aspirations much loftier than just building a financially successful business. “As we got started, I wondered if I could weave taking care of people and the planet into the DNA of the company, and if that would provide superior returns and create a lasting and positive impact,” says Marc.
These ideas have formed Fiix’s direction, and have grown as the company has evolved from small startup to success story in the Canadian software-as-a-service (SaaS) landscape.
Building a cloud-based business from the ground up
Since the company’s inception, Fiix (then called Maintenance Assistant) made understanding customers a priority, working to define their needs, collect feedback, and identify where existing software providers were falling short in order to fill those gaps. This focus ensured that seven months after the company’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) was developed, it was being used by almost 8,000 companies around the world.
“We had a suggestions board where customers could vote on which features they’d like us to incorporate into the software, and we’d do a product release every week that included the features with the most votes,” explains Marc. “This allowed us to evolve to market needs and better understand our customers. Users were so amazed that someone was finally listening to them that pretty soon we had 28,000 companies using the software which was crowd-translated into 33 languages.”
Marc identifies that the real competitive advantage came when the rapid evolution of the software forced Fiix to move to a cloud platform years before its competitors. Once again, the Fiix team had to work to understand the ins and outs of the industry in order to understand the company’s position within it. Since the cloud platform was launched in 2012, the Fiix team has been maniacal about metrics, measuring data from all corners of the business.
“Focusing on the numbers let us better understand our business and look at capital efficiencies and unit economics. It led to better decisions and helped us understand where we should deploy money,” explains Marc.
Executing a move up-market
A big challenge for early stage SaaS companies is breaking through the $5 million revenue ceiling. Fixx realized in order to seize a place as one of Canada’s fastest-growing SaaS companies the company would have to pivot-this time Fiix focused on targeting the enterprise segment of the maintenance and asset management market.
“This is when we went to the Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program (OSVP) with the ‘go big’ proposal and we rolled it out into several phases,” says Marc.
But Fiix realized “going big” and executing a move up-market means a lot of pieces need to fall into place at the right time. The OSVP voucher was one of those pieces.
To support the company’s growth, the Fiix sales team had to reorganize. This included a big hiring push, as well as additional middle management to help oversee the growing team, in order to meet increasing demand. Management increased skills training for Fiix employees, with a focus on understanding the enterprise market, and the company ran a talent and development program for the executive team to bolster soft skills on how to best position and support their employees during the pivot.
Marc explains that an equal flurry of activity was also taking place on the product side of the company as Fiix hired strategic positions to improve the functionality and user experience of Fiix’s software and meet ever-increasing demands for the Fiix mobile app.
These changes more than paid off and Fiix blew through its revenue predictions and met all of its OSVP objectives. The company’s headcount boomed while revenue nearly doubled allowing the company to deepen its capabilities to address the enterprise market.
Measuring success against a triple bottom line
After speaking with Marc it’s clear that financial success is not the only measure of success to the team at Fiix. Marc is proud to say that by weaving corporate social responsibility (CSR) into Fiix’s DNA, he was able to not only preserve, but grow the company’s commitments to inclusivity, sustainability and good governance. This year, Fiix passed a significant milestone by becoming a certified BCorp – the highest standard for a socially and environmentally responsible for-profit business.
Fiix’s exceptional leadership and its investment in its triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, have played a big role in the company’s journey to scale that lead them to the Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program. This leadership has also kept Fiix ahead of its competitors by recognizing when to pivot and allowing the company’s customers to have a voice very early on, giving Fiix exceptional product-market fit and focus.
“What we’ve found is that listening and responding to customer needs is critical, but there’s also a direct correlation between doing good in the world and increased revenue.” says Marc.